Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wenchuan Earthquake

Seeing the remnants of the Wenchuan Earthquake at Xiankou Middle School,Yingxiu  was reality hitting rock - bottom. After the beauty  of Jiuzhaigou, we made a detour on a cold, grim day to witness the devastation wrought at one of many sites of a  natural disaster of massive magnitude. The Wenchuan Earthquake ( Wenchuan was the earthquake's epicentre), similarly known as the Great Sichuan Earthquake, 2008 registered 8.5 on the Richter scale. There were 149 - 284 major aftershocks with  reports of tremors reaching  faraway  to Beijing, Shanghai, Macau, India !

Here we were in this place where a key Middle High School of 1527 student and 133 teacher  population stood. Silence reigns here with the rubble remaining. The school bell will not ever ring again. Tourists like us  make a visit . For the locals, this is a grim daily reminder . A  5.12 Memorial Clock showing 2.28 pm when the quake happened was set up to remember the loved ones on that fateful day, May 12. Behind the Memorial, the 5 storey  building  was down to ground level. This tragedy was mourned by the nation and The State Council gave order for a 3 day national mourning on May 19, 2008.

The buildings collapsed in mountains of heaps and some near falling and cracked and standing are now relics. The huge clock shows 5.12. That's when disaster struck on May, 12th. All hell broke loose. It must have. On can imagine the students' desperate cries, how the teachers must have fought in vain to rescue them and fell victims themselves.

Coming from a country spared from natural disasters, it is quite easy to forget about natural calamities.The ruins we saw can surely touch anyone. It is no more about images that flashed on tv screens.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Faces of Sichuan 2

Through the school gate, my hubby snapped this picture of these  eager, happy  boys. It looked like school was over. Kids were also seen sweeping  the compound, unsupervised, and doing a good job. We showed the lads the picture taken and they asked  for more! Alas, our group was moving on and we had to catch up.

Anyone for a ride on the yak? This beauty attracted the attention among a few of us who paid 10 yuan to hop on the animal. Cameras clicked. This hunk of meat with  the 2 curvy, piecing horns looked docile enough!
A little nippy in the air but  anything goes for their big day. They posed by the river where  there's a huge waterwheel . We were in ShangLi Ancient Town when  I caught sight of  the bride alighting from the car. 
They wanted to be photgraphed and how they just lined themselves up!  Whaddayya say about discipline??

Giving me his cheeky smile as he saw me turning the camera lens on him.  At Hailuogou Glacier Park, we wandered around , looking out but nary a chance to see THAT glacier.  Wholly blanketed by the fog. Well, another time...

A young  lady looking after a booth  selling  food snacks at the observation platform in Hailuogou Glacier Park.

A visitor to Hailuguo Glacier Park too.  

In the town area of  Hailuogou, this girl was curious and not camera shy. Such a lovely smile for strangers!

These kids were seen playing among kids ! ( the four footed kind)
Her gloves were blackish brown as she chipped away the kernel to reveal  the walnut inside.

It was proving to be futile to snap the waiters and waitresses in this hotel as they moved about to serve the guests. Until this lady posed for us upon special request after dinner was over. I specially wanted  a momento of the uniform as the hotel is named  Long March  International Hotel.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jiuzhaiguo jewel beckons

This jewel destination was the lure. The post cards and the stories were too tempting. Jiuzhaiguo lies in the crown of the spectacular Min Shan mountain range. Friends insist it is a must -do on  a visit to China. And they are right.

So my hubby and I joined  a group of friends on the Jiuzhaiguo holiday with destinations to some  remoter, less travelled parts of Sichuan.

Even before the peak season, tourists were already flocking to the Jiuzhai Valley. The National Park is located in the north of the Sichuan province in South Western China. Declared  a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, Jiuzhaiguo means ' Nine Village Valley' and is named after the nine Tibetan villages scattered through out the park. Tibetan people have lived in this region for thousands of years and locals still hold onto many traditional ways of life.

Jiuzhai Valley has 17 waterfall groups, 47 springs and 114 lakes in the park. What we saw was stunning and so magical. For us, timing was a little off as the spectacular colours of autumn that makes it the most breathtaking  time of the year was not showing off yet. But for soon-to be travellers, if you like what you see in these pictures, just paint the shades of red, orange, brown amidst the aqua blue, green, purple hues of the lakes, you know you are in a fairyland on earth!

                               A lasting memory  of the colours of Jiuzhaiguo. Unforgettable.