...a bucket of disinfectant
Trip Start Jul 20, 2007
43Trip End Ongoing
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I haven't morphed into Germaine Greer when i write that China's problem is its men
Lugu Lake is home to the last matriarchal society in the world and it was evident the women wouldn't stand for the usual behavior, and for the first time we saw 'do not spit' signs and no smoking rules being obeyed. The local authorities use matriarchal culture to attract its share of visitors from what is an insanely huge domestic tourism. This is a further problem of visiting China - there are 1.2 billion people in Chinam who almost exclusively holiday in China, and nearly always as part of a tour group. An enduring image is the sight of 40 Chinese leaving a tour bus, wearing matching orange Nike caps, following a bellowing guide frantically waiving an orange flag
After trekking for 2 days i climbed down onto a rock to take a photo of a waterfall. I slipped on the rock and a current of water gobbled me up, span me around, and spat me out 5m below, leaving me waist deep in water clinging to a grassy bank to avoid falling another 5m down the waterfall. At the time, the adrenaline rushing through body numbed all pain and any feelings of being scared; looking back it was probably the scariest moment of my life. Only after clambering out of the waterfall did i realise i couldn't move my left leg. Luckily after 3hours of trekking we were just 100m from a village and a guesthouse where i led prostrate in near unbearable pain for 45minutes. While discussing with the owner the easiest way to reach the nearest hospital (about 4hours drive) a 60 year old Malaysian tai chi expert offered his assistance. Using his thumb and index finger he pushed hard from my back down my left leg to my ankle. As he did this the second time he pointed at the blood clot he was pushing out of my groin. His diagnosis was that the impact of the fall had twisted my back, which had caused the tendons in my groin to twist
In the previous entry i suggested Zhongdian should be named after Disney. To qualify this, Zhongdian is like EuroDisney, an amusement park that is ultimately a disappointment when compared to the real thing - Disney World. This is how best to describe Lijiang: a quaint rebuilt town in classic Chinese dynasty style and tailor made for tourists. We stayed here for 4days to help me recover and it deserves all the income it takes from tourism because it is a delightful little place that if you had the time you would stay for months. What did we do - nothing - there's not much to do apart from enjoy hobbling around the streets.
After reading what i have just written maybe I've ripped into China a bit too much and i don't want to give the impression we didn't have an amazing time. However, after 5days on buses and trains going 3000km across the country, with nothing to look out but smog and spit, our love for China has disappeared. It needs a big bucket of disinfectant thrown over its head. But to finish I'll mention 4 little things that made traveling in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces amazing.
Breakfast - The problem with cereal is that you get all excited, pour them into a bowl, open the fridge and realise your house mate has drunk all your milk - and milkmen have long disappeared due to all the ambitious married women that run away with who are essentially glorified takeaway drivers
Chillies - The countryside is awash with huge fields of chillies drying in the sun which will eventually end up in every meal you eat. Unlike in England where they takeaways water down the Sichuan style beef with tomato puree instead of actually inserting any flavour, the local Sichuanese (is that right?) are incredibly liberal and your eyes will water by the end of every meal.
Himalayas - Hardly a little thing, the only thing their smaller than is the forehead of Dec 'I've presented every crap Saturday night TV show in the past 10years' Donnelly. But they are amazing.
The hours of daylight - In England we have the stupid outdated concept of putting the clocks back in Autumn in order to make sure its pitch black when everyone finishes work and people get so depressed they have no choice but to watch crap TV like Hollyoaks. Why should it be light an hour earlier when everyone bar the postman is in bed? The whole of China runs on Beijing time (GMT + 8), which means that in Sichuan and Yunnanm 2500km of latitude to the west, it doesn't get light till nearly 9am in November. Amazing. It then stays light till at least 8pm the whole year.