China: Yunnan

Shaxi: Ancient Tea Horse Road

Shaxi

Yunnan Province

China

June 6, 2014

Dear Friends,

During my brief visit to the livestock market in Shaxi, I recalled the ditty “Mules” that I learned at Boy Scout Camp.   As I trod the grounds among horses, cows, bulls and other assorted browsers, I paid strict attention to the lyric.*

Shaxi is an historic town along the Ancient Tea Horse Road that connects China to Burma to Tibet to India.  But Shaxi is unlike Lijiang, another caravan stop to the northth.  Lijiang boasts an airport that dismounts herds of visitors.  Shaxi retains an “ancient” atmosphere.

Lijiang Prefecture: On the Road

Lijiang Prefecture

Yunnan Province

China

June 5, 2014

Hello,

Does anyone remember the insufferable strains of The Blue Danube Waltz from a movie released in 1969?

In his epic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, the director Stanley Kubrickused that Johann Strauss tune as a backdrop to the flight of the space ship Discovery as it hurtled towards Jupiter.

That shot of the Discovery out in dark space lingered on the screen for what seemed like an endless light year.  Why use such a technique?  Would it alienate the moviegoer?  Didn’t we all squirm in our seats and feel impatient and uncomfortable?  

Baishui: White Water Terraces 白水台

Baishuitai Terraces

Yunnan Province

People’s Republic of China

June 4, 2014

Dear Friends,

Can you imagine my shock, when after a lengthy and strenuous hike, my driver holding my arm to provide support as we climbed up and up and up the “wobbly” steps and up and up and up the steep gravel path (I was dizzy from the heat and the thin air) I finally arrived at the White-Water travertine terraces and asked breathlessly, “Have I returned to Turkey?  Have I returned to Pamukkale?”

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Yunnan Province

China

June 4, 2014

Dear Friends,

Are you familiar with the Chinese adage attributed to Confucius?

一圖勝萬言

Perhaps you studied the sage words of Napoleon?

“Une image vaut mille mots.”

It is believed by some that the modern use of the phrase stems from an article by Fred R. Barnard in the advertising trade journal Printers’ Ink, promoting the use of images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars. The December 8, 1921 issue carries an ad entitled, "One Look is Worth A Thousand Words."

Lijiang Prefecture: Monks in the Trees

Monks in the Trees

On the Road in Lijiang Prefecture

Yunnan Province

China

June 2, 2014

Dear Friends,

Significant portions of western Yunnan were once part of Tibet.  Consequently, Tibet monasteries or Lamaseries are scattered around the province.

On the road from Lijiang to Tiger Leaping Gorge, we made a detour deep into the hills to visit the active Yufeng Lamasery.

One expects to find monks or lamas at work or at study.  And like elsewhere in the Buddhist world, young novice monks are also at study or at play.  Here we found the cheerful and energetic young boys exercising and climbing in the trees.

Lijiang: The Old Town and Market

Lijiang

Yunnan Province

People’s Republic of China

Elevation 2400m 7900 ft.

June 2, 2014

Dear Friends and Fellow Travelers,

I can never resist a market.  Can you?  Always lively, colorful and surprising, the market is a core element of daily life.  What is more essential than food, clothing and household goods?   And what is more fun? 

So after our early morning stroll through the Old Town of Lijiang that included an invitation to a tea ceremony, my guide Illian and I head over to the main market.  I took about “a thousand” photos, and finally stocked up on a half kilo of fresh, sweet green plums for the ride ahead.

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