Friday, September 29, 2006
Like all the monasteries it was full of various statues and holy relics but the bit I liked best was the Assembly Hall where all the monks gather for 'stuff'. It was full of smoke and the light streamed in from the top windows. It was great for slow shutter speeds so I whipped out my tripod and paid my 20rmb to the monk and clicked away.
This whole monastery had to be rebuilt after the cultural revolution as it was used as target practice by the Chinese heavy artillery.
Hope you like the pics =) click on them to see larger ones.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
We are now in Tibet and had one night/day in Lhasa.
Things happened so far:
- altitude is tiring - we are at 3800 metres in Lhasa and scoffing Diamox (we were forced to) which helps with altitude sickness but is a diuretic (you pee loads).
- Bianca has a cold (which is not good with altitude and dry air)
- My laptop has blown its hard drive I think (which is why you are getting this crappy photo for the update). How does this make me feel? Pissed.
- Bianca's hair goes straighter in dry weather.
Anyway this was just a quick update in case you have been checking the blog everyday without a post. =)
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Well to be honest we have to pick up the tour in Kathmandu and our round the world flights meant we could not do the easy route.
Kathmandu is amazing. It has all the good stuff of India without, so far, all the bad stuff. People are happy and the weather is great. We are staying in an expensive (A$110/night including brekkie) hotel with pool to recover from the Delhi airport lounge.
You can see from the photo that we already have had a blessing from a Krishna Sadhu, red mark on forehead and petals in hair, and are enjoying the manic but happy streets of Kathmandu.
Lots more posts to come but on slow dial up connection. Stay tuned =)
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Originally uploaded by nospuds.
She didn't just dance with them but also tried to mimic their singing! Save me!
Bianca writes: In my defence, I was more in tune than they were and even added a few bits of nifty footwork into an otherwise bog-standard ethnic dance. Kudos to moi, I say.
Originally uploaded by nospuds.
We tried some home brew to. The apple brew was good and sweet but the ‘wine’ would make you go blind I recon bt the old lady that owned the still seemed to be doing just fine.
I will miss rural China but I am also ready to see more of the Himalayas as we are tantalisingly close now.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Enough of the tour book crap - these guys are amazing. Resplendent with flowing robes, flowing beards and barely one lot of 20/20 vision between them, they performed the strange, beautiful, occasionally discordant but always enjoyable traditional music with great dignity.
Their conductor Xuan Ke was a great character who himself spent more than 20 years in a labour camp, released at age 50. Fluent in English and Mandarin, he kept the crowd entertained with lengthy commentary between pieces. It's testimony to his humour and delivery that people remained attentive even when his monologues stretched to 15 mins. Many of the orchestra's older members took these opportunities for a quick nap. I don't blame them - with nightly performances, they've probably heard all the jokes before.
A line of black and white portraits stretch across the top of the stage - a sad reminder of the musicians who have either died or who went missing during Mao's reign of terror.
The only jarring note of the evening was the behaviour of quite a few members of the audience who not only left their mobile phones on but took calls and conducted long phone conversations during the performance, even one exceptionally rude fellow in the front row. Still, different culture, different practices.
Don’t know if you saw it but UK’s Channel 4 shot a multiple part doco called “Beyond the Clouds”. I have strong memories of that series and unlike most docos it was more like a soap opera than a doco as it followed various people doing everyday things. The doco is one of the reasons I wanted to go to China. After world heritage listing, earthquakes and being seen on the world stage Lijiang has now gone from rural town to tourist city. Don’t get me wrong, it is still very beautiful and you get hints at what it was like.
We had a trip out to Shuhe, which is a bit more preserved, where many of these photos are from. They had this cool three well system where the top well is for drinking only, and the water then runs down into the second well, which is for washing vegies etc, then it flows into the third well which is for the mucky stuff. Water runs everywhere and is so well managed.
Friday, September 08, 2006
This pic is in a pleasant little café on a street dubbed Foreigner Street 2 (after Foreigner Street obviously).
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Bianca thought the skin sitting outside the butchers was a sleeping dog for a while.
We love Dali.
Monday, September 04, 2006
So far though we have seen no ‘peoples party’ stuff just good old commercialism, entrepreneurialism & greed =) You can always rely on greed to get people to mix and be friendly and hopefully we will all see we are not so different after all! BUT one of the touts here thought I was German!! Really!?!
Sunday, September 03, 2006
I like Hong Kong but it has a bit less soul than Beijing I feel.