Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Faces of Sichuan

Hi everyone,hope you are keeping well. My apologies for the long absence. Have been on a holiday in Chengdu, Jiuzhaiguo, Kangding, Hailuoguo in Sichuan. We flew from Chengdu to Jiuzhaiguo. Jiuzhaiguo which means 'Nine Village Valley' rewarded us with its renowned beauty for its fabled blue and green lakes,spectacular waterfalls and more. However, during our visit the spectacular autumnal colours did not show off yet as seen in postcards.That we missed.

It had been a very hectic schedule, travelling on the bus for seemingly endless hours traversing mountain roads. Not to mention the terrible roads, without shoulders and barely space for 2 trucks to pass by,  there were cliff hanging moments, never to be forgotten with many scenic towering mountains and valleys to remember too. The rain and mist combined to make travelling extra difficult. Like most of the fellow travellers we suffered varying degrees of altitude sickness as the highest altitude reached was over 3,700m at Mugecuo, near Kangding.

From Jiuzhaiguo to Chengdu, we passed by the WenChuan Earthquake Ruins and the Chengdu Narrow Valley.Remote villages with its people gave us glimpses of the simple, rustic life of these hardy inhabitants. The Tibetans and the local Han people were a delight to be in touch with.

Passing through some tunnels from Kanding to Hailuoguo wrecked our nerves as discipline was not the order of the day. But luckily our driver coped admirably and kept such excellent discipline that got us safe and sound to every point of the journey. Impatient drivers overtook in the dark tunnels. One was so pot holey that we rocked as if tossed in  rough seas. Thankfully it was not too long. From Kangding, we passed through a well -lit  4.5 km Erlangshan Tunnel @ 2182m. which is part of the Sichuan - Tibet Express. This entry point is of great importance that it is controlled by fully armed police. According to the tour guide, traversing this part of of the mountain terrain was terribly hazardous and took as long as an entire day but this tunnel cuts  the passage  time to a mere 10 minutes. Heavy trucks and tourist buses ply the roads and these were the main vehicles.

Am comfortably safe in my home. Looking back over the last 9 days of travel, it was indeed an experience,seeing things as they are for the first time. I'd like to share with you images and snippets of tales. To kick off, I hope you enjoy these images of the people of Sichuan.

One of the Tibetan ladies at Die Xi Hai Zi ( Double Stream Lake), a small  Muslim village selling  a wide variety of nuts. There, I sat on a white yak for 10 yuan for a picture moment.

In Moxi town, we were drawn to this old lady. As we walked about the court yard, she called out to us as she sat by a doorway, holding a pair of lovely  embroidered soles of shoes. Very soon, from her gestures and words uttered  she asked us to buy them. Her animated expressions and persistence paid off. I too bought  a pair . She had only 2 pairs to sell. Our fellow travellers took a liking to her and gladly dropped some yuan in her pocket as tokens. Her face  brightened  and her eyes just  danced and glistened.
Moxi  Old Town is part of Luding County, 304 km from Chengdu. We visited the small church and the residence where  Mao Tze Tung stayed  and held one of the meetings in the Long March - Moxi Meeting -to make  stategic plans for Luding Bridge Battle in 1935.

This is a relative of the 'sole' lady. Through her, we found out that they are related. When asked, she told us she was  72 and her relative  was 62. So grateful was she, that she wished us, 'good health' for the generosity shown to them.

Shangli  Old Town, once an important post on the Silk Road of the South lies  north of the Ya'an city of Sichuan. It is listed as one of the 10 Ancient towns in Sichuan. Be prepared to step into an era of bygone days. This old man was quietly watching our activities as we explored the  town which fascinated us with its old buildings, tranquil atmosphere, artists capturing the quiet waterways and  the waterwheel which was a big attraction of the quiet town.

In Chengdu, at Jinli Street,  this young lady was ready for some cultural performance. As she alighted the van, she gamely posed for my hubby. Note her costume which is a reminder of ancient Chengdu and her lovely peachy complexion.

Another  happy lady who served us in a Chinese restaurant in Chengdu.

What proof does one have of being at the Glacier at Hailuoguo National  Park Forest,  Asia's lowest altitude glacier when it was hidden by the thick fog? Well, nature doesn't always oblige, so a huge backdrop provides a sense of satisfaction for  disappointed visitors. Our group of ladies, kept warm and were high spirited, nevertheless. Can you spot me??  


  1. Yes, I can spot you! Right in the centre!

    I enjoy your portraits especially of the elderly women. I scrolled up and down looking for the 2 pair of shoes...

  2. I really, really enjoyed your photos. They are the best of your collection. Your travel sounds interesting. Look forward to hear more. Also, hope to see you today. Missed you so Keats.

  3. Keats :) Welcome back! Looks like a super fun experience, I love all the people photos, and that's what I will be snapping too. Happy weekend :)

  4. Saw you, magnificent 7 from left in your last pix. Oh yeah sorry to hear the bumpy ride in your journey and those unruly drivers. Must be having lots of hot and spicy food which is very famous in Sichuan.

  5. Beautiful faces, all of them. It is good to see you blogging again.

  6. I've never heard of people selling soles before. That's a first for me.
    I spot you tucked right in the middle of everyone. Another interesting and exciting visit.

  7. I hope you had a wonderful vacation
    and YES i can see you :-)

  8. Very interesting shots of the people... sorry I could not recognize you in the picture... :)

  9. So good of you to visit me! Now, I get to visit you and catch up with your adventures. I'll have to check my book of maps to orient myself. Great pictures!

  10. I see you! Great pictures as always. I love the faces of these people who allowed their pictures to be taken.

  11. Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

  12. Simple people, lovely faces. This is a beautiful place.

  13. Strange how easily we could tell apart the Han Chinese from people of other ethnic origins, although they are all of the same nationality! Welcome back, Keats! Looking forward to more great posts from you!


Great to have you popping in!