Being in Gansu province I had three options: go more west where the central Asian cultures meet, go to Tibet(forbidden at the moment) and go south. I decided to go south to Sichuan province as I was planning to do Hua Mountain by Xian with my Chinese friends in 2 weeks.
Sichuan is famous for its spicy food. So far my mouth is still alive, but I feel I had been lucky. They ask me sometimes if I like spicy, I say little bit. You can always add chili after if it is not enough for you.
My first stop was Jiu Zhai Gou and its national park. The park is like huge Plitvicka Jezera in Croatia, cost is 310 Yuan and they said you cannot do it all in one day, but one day is definitely enough to take shuttle bus and also to walk. You can do most of the park if you are not walking as slow as Chinese guys 🙂
I met a nice couple from Australia and we spent the day together. They enjoy walking as I do and when we were finishing our hike on last few lakes it was almost closing time. It was still far, but we were extremely lucky.
There was a culture event organized by the park for Tibetan people. They invited us over and we had a blast. It started with beers and grilled pork. It ended up with singing and dancing. Basically they told us to sing or no lift back to the exit of the park, which was 2 hours walking away. I had to push myself and sang a children song “Skákal pes přes oves”. They loved it 🙂 and I got my deserved ride back at the end.
Original plan was JuiZhaiGou and then back to Chengdu to see Pandas, but after experience in the park I had to go somewhere more rural and see Tibetan culture in depth. I was recommended Kangding and Daocheng. It is few days days away by bus, so my first stop was in Maerkang(Barkham). Basically I had really good party and food. I stayed in proper hotel and had excellent wifi, so did my proper backup of photos.
After being few days in Sichuan, I had strange feeling that Sichuan people are extremely racist. I heard nigga from here and there. What it turned out to be is there is a word KeNega, which means “it depends” and all was cleared out. Although it is still funny when they talk and sometimes look at me with their KeNega 🙂
Next stop is Danba as there is no direct bus to Kangding. I google up and find out there are traditional small villages with foreigners allowed. I decided to stop for 1 night in Zhunglu village and stayed for 2 nights. Nice and peaceful. I think I was also expecting more of same like I saw in the park, dancing and singing. It is like a small village with everyone working whole day on the houses and fields. Nothing special happening, but hosts were very nice and the scenery said: stay longer.
After I arrived to Kangding I had no idea what to do there. I stayed in Kanka Youth Hostel and they could speak English. I was quite happy to stay half a day with them and drink proper tea and chat. They also said there is dancing every evening on the main square, where anybody can join, so did I. It was quite fun, but complicated. Compare to Salsa I had trouble to move my feet, because you always start the step with your right foot. Very confusing. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/YCbRHQqzO-4
After visiting Tibetan places and chatting more with Chinese and Tibetan people. It seems that on media, Tibetans are displayed as problematic people who are also dangerous. Some Chinese people I chat with are aware of going to Tibet and do not want to go there as the propaganda make them look bad. On the other hand Tibetan people make obviously fuss about things when Chinese government limits they places for praying, limit their job opportunities and limiting their culture. What I was told, Tibetan people are also scared to stand up for their opinions and protecting their rights, because they disappear otherwise. Not saying I believe everything what people say, but due to forbidden access for foreigners to Tibet and some other Tibetan towns in China, it could be possible 🙂
Without talking to anyone, it seems everyone is living happy life. There are culture differences like heavy spitting and smoking everywhere, pushing and cutting the lines, different toilets I specially do not like, family is the most important, quite good regular photographers, gambei style of drinking, sharing meals and chopsticks only.
I am happy I decided to apply for 2 months visa. It is already a month here and I feel it was like 2-3 weeks and wish I had more. Who knows, maybe I come back as a English teacher 🙂
Next destination Daocheng and Yading with lakes and mountains in elevation of 4000 meters.