Baishuitai ( A day trip from Zhongdian Yunnan Province)
Here is how we wrote about it in our Diary that day (Sept 3 – 2007): … It is a stunning, largely uphill ride, through dense forests and undulating meadows crossed by rushing rivers. On our way we pass the occasional nomads’ tent and several small minority and Tibetan villages.
The first is a rickety, wooden Yi settlement that is virtually deserted. According to our driver, a taciturn Tibetan, the Yi are probably out gathering mushrooms. Curiously, the subject of the Yi is the very first to loosen his tongue: he claims that the Tibetans dislike the Yi because they practise slash and burn agriculture and are responsible for the cutting down of the forests…. Moreover, in general, they are not to be trusted (his words, not ours). His outburst leaves us a bit baffled because, as far as we know, not all Tibetans are equally ecologically-minded. What to think e.g. of the extended use many Tibetans make of rare furs?
Fortunately, our driver is much more positive about the Hui village we pass later. Continue reading “Baishuitai 白水台”
The bar was pretty cool; just a few wooden tables with simple but stylish decoration. We ordered a bottle of dry red wine and savoured the moment as the dark burgundy liquid filled our glasses. We toasted and rejoiced that we had chosen well. But the best was yet to come. The cheese, beautifully presented and excellently cut, looked as if it had arrived straight from Castilla la Mancha. The fried cheese sticks were scrumptious too. With a little bit of imagination we could almost feel as if we had been transported to one of those lazy, boozy days kicking back in Spain. But actually we were at 3,200 meters above sea level, not too far from the Tibetan border in the Yunnanese town of Zhongdian. The wine and the cheese where both local products; the latter 100% yak….
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One of the more pleasant Surprises of last year’s visit to Zhongdian in the South Western province of Yunnan was sitting in a Tibetan run wine bar nipppling delicious cheese and washing it down with a pretty decent red wine. Both products were locally made. The cheese, unlike most Tibetan cheeses, was neither sour or tooth shatteringly rock hard. Actually it would go down well at any French or Spanish table. The cheese was produced in a remote mountanious area by a cooperative with the aid of western expertise. In April HolaChina: Your Gateway to China will bring you a full length article on how this unusual business came about. Stay posted!