A spooky grey sky hangs heavily over the summit of Weibao Shan, the air laden with the threat of a summer storm that refuses to burst. We catch a glimpse of a fluorescent green snake, slithering through the eye socket of a charred Taoist deity; victim of a lightning strike that had reduced his temple to a ghostly shell.
Down below, deep forests cover the slopes of the mountain and ancient Yi villages pepper the bottom of the valley. The only other sign of life is a slightly dotty old caretaker and her dozens of cats.
Landslides, mudslides, traffic accidents, then more landslides, rock falls and even more traffic accidents. Every journey we made this summer in Yunnan seemed to involve at least one of those mishaps and sometimes several of them.
Watching the news in China during the rainy and typhoon season can be like watching a disaster movie that never ends. From landslides to floods, earthquakes to collapsing bridges, the whole country seems immersed in an ongoing state of calamities that sometimes verge on biblical proportions. Yet, until this year, we had always been lucky. We were either somewhere completely different, we had already been and gone, or we were about to go, but we were never actually there, on the spot. We were quite used to watching all those disasters from the comfort of our hotel room. Yet, this year it was all different.
The worst incident was the massive mudslide in Puladi near Gongshan along the Nujiang River, where a whole village was wiped off the face of the earth. Many people were killed and Continue reading “An Eventful Trip”