Memories of Zhongdian
Our first attempt to visit the town in 1991 was thwarted when the police pulled us of the bus just after Tiger Leap Gorge and sent us back to Lijiang. Zhongdian/ Dukezong was still apparently closed to Foreigners then. Eventually, we got there in 2007 on our way to Tibet.
Guangdong Province is our destination this year and a much shorter visit than normal. We plan to base ourselves for almost a week in Guangzhou taking time to enjoy the Dim Sum and making various excursions. High on our list are the Diaolou near Kaiping; the river side temples near Qingyuan and the Bagua Villages near Zhaoqing. If there is time we would like to pop into the little known Hakka area of southern Jiangxi province and visit the Tulou (Hakka earth buildings) near Longnan. Finally,
we’ll finish our trip visiting friends in Beijing after taking the bullet train from Guangzhou.
Author: Pen name: Mo Yan 莫言. Real name: Guǎn Móyè 管谟业
Anyone who has read our Chinese book review section will know that I’m a great fan of the Chinese author Mo Yan. So I would just like so say how happy I am that he has been recognized for his great works. Hopefully, I’ll now be able to find a copy of his ‘Republic of Wine’ a little more easily.
Below are the reviews of two of Mo Yan’s books that are on our blog:
On our last day (in Zhangye), we decided to visit this newly developed geo-park, a scenic area of multi-coloured rocks, which has been put on the map by Zhang Yimou 张艺谋 who shot (part of) his film SanQiang Pai An Jing Qi 三枪拍案惊奇 here. This film, which is known by the titlesA Woman, A Gun And A Noodle Shop 三枪拍案惊奇, as well as A Simple Noodle Story, is Zhang’s personal take on the Coen brothers debut film Blood Simple.
The geology park is about 40 kms, or an hour’s drive fromZhangye, in the opposite direction from Mati Si.
We are told to get on a bus, and after a short drive we are let off at a viewing platform, from where we gaze at the amazing scenery.
China, Yunnan province, 150 kilometres Northwest of Dali.
Having arrived safely in Yunlong after a long and somewhat eventful journey from Xiaguan (Dali City), we set about visiting the sights and exploring the town, which to be honest doesn’t take very long, as there is precious little to see or do.
Parts of the amazing Seng-ze Gyanak Mani Wall outside Yushu collapsed during the earthquake. The tradegy is not only for Tibetan heritage, but also for human life, as we understand at least one woman was crushed to death by the falling stones.
The Seng-ze Gyanak Mani Wall was a special place of worship for Tibetans. Pilgrims travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to walk around this astonishing pile of stones. My photos don’t do it justice.
What is a Mani Wall?
Mani Walls are rows of piled-up stones, engraved or painted with orations. The size of such Mani Wallscan vary from the humblest pile to a circuit of several hundred meters. Pilgrims walk round these walls of holy stones in a clockwise direction, uttering prayers and twirling prayer wheels.
The Seng-ze Gyanak Mani Wall was truly enormous; a sign by its side proudly proclaimed that it is 283 metres long, 74 metres wide, 2,5 metres high and consists of 2 billion stones! What’s more, the Wall was still growing, as we witnessed with our own eyes: devout pilgrims contribute new stones everyday, which are hoisted up on to the pile carefully. The billions of beautifully carved stones carry the Buddhist prayers “Om Mani Padme Hum” or, “Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus”, and other orations.
I’m sure that whatever the damage caused by the earthquake, the indomitable spirit of the people who live in this harsh yet spectualar land, will rebuild and continue to build the Mani Wall.
We’ll be putting up some more material in the next few days and weeks related to the trip. The next text will be about the Sichuan and Chongqing towns of Pingle and Songji. This will be followed by more information about Yushu and the area around. We took so many photos that it is taking ages to sort through them.