Friday, July 22, 2011

Back in Europe

After a pleasant China Eastern flight, I am back in Europe after two years in China, looking forward to being able to use again Blogger ot Twitter which were almost impossible to access from behind the Great Firewall. Also wondering how the reverse culture shock will affect me and my friends. Soon my blog will be reimported to Blogger from a previous platform.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Venice of the East

After a 24-hours train journey, I reached Suzhou for an extended weekend, waiting for the time to board the plane in Shanghai. Suzhou is a pleasant town with wonderful gardens and small canals which earned the city the nickname of Venice of the East. In addition to the gardens,a few buddhist and taoist temples are worth visiting, both in the city and its satellite towns like Mudu and Tongli. In the evening local music can be enjoyed in teahouses. There are also plenty of buses leaving Suzhou for both airports in Shanghai, taking only about two hours for the trip.

Impressions of Suzhou

Friday, July 8, 2011

Horsetrekking on the Sichuan Border

Enjoying the end of my contract in China and taking a few days of vacation in the province. It went towards Sichuan, stopping just on the border, the route followed by the bus even crossing into that province. Langmusi was the destination though I only reached it on the second day, a missed connection made me spent a night in Hezuo, a vibrant trade town home to a monastery housing all sects of Tibetan Bouddhism and therefore 8 storeys heigh. It was also a good opportunity to get acclimatised to the increased altitude. Once in Langmusi I explored the two monasteries, one on the Sichuan side and the other in Gansu. Afterwards I started a three days long trek with horses through the grassland, staying in Nomad's tents. The Tibetan nomads live a harsch life, exposed to strong sunlight, in basic tents, although some have small solar panels to provide them with electricity. They herd yaks and those stay close to the camp during the night. On the second day of the trek, we left the horses to climb a sacred mountain reaching 4200 meters after a stenous climb. On the last day, the horse was angry because of the rain and I fell on my first attempt at getting on it, but managed to control my fall to avoid injuries. I almost missed a connection that would have made me stay one night in Xiahe but decided not to linger too long as I had a few last obligations in Lanzhou.

Langmusi Horse Trekking