Monday, 17 March 2014

Shangri-La

Scott had left his bags in Lijiang, and was returning there. He'd decided not to go to Shangri-La as two thirds of the old town burned down in a conflagration a month ago (January).
I still wanted to get to the Himalayan foothills, and get as near as possible to Tibet, so I headed up there anyway.

Many of the Korean travellers I shared the bus from Lijiang with were going up also, and we'd booked into the same hostel. This was useful as the bus to Shangri-La was operated by Tina's Guesthouse, and only drops folk outside the Tina's in Shangri-La. We shared a taxi to Tavern 47.

I spent the next three days wearing every item of clothing I brought with me. 

The fire was devastating. The Old Town of Shangri-La now looks like this:






Just one month later, however, they are already rebuilding.





The town will recover in no time. It was and is far more than the old town, although obviously the loss of businesses, livelihoods and the representations of cultural memory will last for longer than the rebuilding will take. 

Yet some of the old town remains, and the other aspects of Shangri-la: the mountains, monasteries, temples and people, are still very much in evidence.

 Monks, goofing around before prayers. Shortly after this, the bell went and a fair number came pelting through the courtyard with their robes flapping about. Sadly, I had put away my camera.

 Somewhere, there are not signs like this. I have not found it yet.




 The two women on the left are taking three steps, praying, prostrating themselves, standing, praying, then taking three more steps. It's a very long road...



 These guys are doing it backwards...


 You don't cook with a blowtorch? You're so weird.



 I see you.

 The world's largest prayer wheel. It's heavy.




I stayed for 4 days, and I only left because there is so much more of China to see and I have a mere 14 days remaining before my ferry to Japan.

Further north is Tibet, for which a special licence is required, and huge swathes of China I simply don't have the time to see. I'll be coming back, one day.

For now, time to head south again.

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