Sunday, July 13, 2008


Highlight No.1 - Jiuzhaigou 九寨沟

This picture is worth more than a thousand words, there is possibly no better way to put across how beautiful and captivating a place Jiuzhaigou is! DREAMY! Absolutely poetry-in-motion, this picture! (photo courtesy of the lovely lady,青青 in the picture, published with permission.)

I agree 100% that once you have seen this much water in its full pristine natural glory, everything else you see elsewhere will forever pale in comparison. The other thing is the fresh, pure, clean, high altitude air here, probably the purest you will ever come across anywhere on Mother Earth!

Highlight No. 2 - Pandas!

Absolutely love them! I have no doubt now!
I remember when I was still in Secondary School, a China circus troupe came to town and a Panda was performing with a huge ball on stage. That was the first time I saw a Panda.
The next I saw two in an air-conditioned enclosure at Hong Kong's Ocean Park about 2 years back. It was morning and both were so tired that they were sleeping and you could only see their backside!
I think the Panda Research Base near Chengdu is doing a wonderful job, giving them an environment as close as possible to their natural habitat which I think no other zoos outside of China could ever provide. I pity, for example those two at Ocean Park, wondering are they suffering under those conditions, even though delicate care is given to them. Likewise for other Pandas at different zoos around the world. At the Chengdu base you could see how playful they are and also how lazy they can be! For their size they are really very tame creatures with no care whatsoever in the world! It reminded me of this article written by saidthegramophone about plants unique to a particular place on earth and whether people also have a particular spot on earth where they will truly blossom (a Place to Be). The Pandas deserve their own little unique spot on this planet!

This picture of Pandas drinking porridge after the Sichuan earthquake left quite an impression on me. During this trip I never understood the virtues of having plain porridge for breakfast, however after the Sichuan Earhquake it finally dawned on me that porridge is like killing two birds with one stone - providing both food as well as fluids all at the same time. There is really no need for tea or coffee for breakfast. Porridge is also easy to swallow and digest. You can say that I fell in love with Porridge as well! Been cooking it for most meals these days, mostly for lunch and dinner.

Highlight No. 3 - Jokhang Temple, Lhasa

Timing is indeed everything! I had the good fortune of touching my forehead on the seat rest of the Holy of holies - the Buddha statue that was brought over by Han princess Wencheng during the Tang Dynasty, possibly the most important of relics left in Tibet. That shrine opens only on limited occasions to visitors and pilgrims and only for a limited number of people at any one time. If I did not stick around long enough I could have missed this great opportunity! It was meant to be I suppose, as I was in desperate need of great blessings and every little helps!
I felt more at home at Jokhang than I was at the iconic Potala Palace and I was lucky enough to be staying just behind this great temple at the most amazing of places I have ever stayed before.

Highlight No. 4 - Three Gorges Barrage

What are the chances to be stucked at the Three Gorges barrage for more than 24 hours? I think the odds would be quite staggering and yet the cruise ship which I took met those odds! Although as the time dragged on I was worried but on hindsight, it was an EVENT in itself!

Highlight No. 5 - 羊八井温泉(海拔4300m)

Soaking and swimming in a hotspring pool at 4300 metres above sea level? Don't think I will ever get a chance to do this at any altitude higher than this in this lifetime! And at cold climate too! Definitely unforgettable.

Highlight No. 6 - Two Gorges and Shennong Stream (神农溪、神农架)

The amazing sceneries of Qutang, Wu Gorges and Shennong Jia and getting to know first hand the real effects of the Three Gorges Dam Project on lives along the Yangtze River and in particular the minority race of Shennong Jia. Once the Dam Project kicks in and the water level rises, many places along the Yangtze will be forever changed!

Highlight No. 7 - The long distance coach trips

You get to see and experience so much more along the way than just a plane ride. I thoroughly enjoyed the Chengdu-Jiuzhaigou to and return trips.

Finding my way for the long distance bus/coach trips Chengdu to Chongqing and Yichang to Wuhan were both pleasant experiences.

Highlight No. 8 - The FOG!

We don't get these in our country so to be delayed and disrupted by the fog was indeed unforgettable events! Even though the fog delayed the flight from Chengdu to Lhasa, it did not affect the schedule in Lhasa too much. However the one at Yangtze and Yichang did leave me with a little regret of having missed seeing the third gorge and the Dam project site as well as the Yellow Crane Tower at Wuhan. Well! Another time maybe?

Highlight No. 9 - The People & New Friends!

This is perhaps the most rewarding of the whole trip. So many nice people along the way although there were some which did leave some not-so-good impression too! Ah! Life's like that and people are people.

(more coming soon.......)

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