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Archive for February, 2006

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Golden Sand

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

The upper section of the Yangzi River in northern Yunnan province is called Golden Sand River. She runs between her sisters the Salween and Mekong Rivers. Golden Sand wanted to marry the eastern sea. A dream said it. So she made a sudden turn east to meet the sea, but her jealous brothers Haba and Jade Dragon Snow Mountains blocked her way. They guarded her passage day and night, until one night Haba fell asleep on duty, allowing Golden Sand to slip past leaving the deep Tiger Leaping Gorge behind her speedy escape. When Jade Dragon awoke to find her gone, he was so angry with his brother that he took his sword and cut off the top of Haba’s head, leaving his peak shorter and flatter still today.The gorge left by Golden Sand can hardly be described. It sits between these towering giants and it seems impossible that such a huge river could find its way through. Between the banks of the river to the mountain peaks is a 10,000(3,300m) vertical feet wall of jagged rock. These peaks reach heights past 16,000 feet(5,600m). It is the world’s deepest gorge. It’s hard to keep your mouth closed.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Monday, February 27th, 2006

A little disappointed by the clouds, but excited all the same, me and Gilad, my new Isreali travel partner took to the trail, our stomachs full of Margo’s beef and mustard sandwiches. Margo is an Australian woman who runs a small restaurant and guesthouse in Qiaotou, the village of 4,000 where the hike begins. She is married to Sean, who began one of the first guest houses in Walnut Garden 20 years ago and has worked to preserve the gorge scenery and cultural architecture built in the Naxi tradition. Between them, they have sandwiched the gorge with two nice places, and I’m glad that she flagged us down because other guest houses near Walnut Garden favor more development of the gorge and have built gaudy three story dorm blocks to service the droves of Chinese tourists and backpackers that flock here in the summer months. We are lucky to be here now, when the only other people on the trail are old Naxi women collecting fire kindling and the occasional goat herder. In the summer it seems that over 100 hikers can turn up in Walnut Garden making beds a premium. But here we sit in Old Horse guest house in this mild mountain paradise tempered by latitude, at the doorstep of spring, alone.

The lucky victim/There’s a dragon in my pool

Sunday, February 26th, 2006
My bike was stolen once, but I got it back. I’ve forgotten expensive gadgets, backpacks, and wallets in random places to find them safely where I left them upon returning. And now, the streak continues. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Old timer and the Flying Tigers

Saturday, February 25th, 2006
Kunming is a very walkable and bus friendly city, if you can crowd your way onto the bus. Somewhere in China’s brilliant 4,000 year old history, they forgot to invent the orderly line. Push or walk seems to ... [Continue reading this entry]

Bangkok to Kunming

Friday, February 24th, 2006
I had to make the journey back into Bangkok for the night to stay once more at Suk 11, albeit a short visit. Of course the stay yielded another China contact, this time an Irishman named Mark who lives ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Temples of Angkor

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006
2/21-23/06 I'm not sure where to start in explaining the experience of Angkor. This area was once the capital of one of the world's most powerful kingdom, the Khmers. The Angkor region alone boasts 300 temples and historic sites. ... [Continue reading this entry]

The mutiny of Siem Reap

Monday, February 20th, 2006
The contrast crossing into Cambodia is sharp. As you're changing sides of the road (left to right), you can't help but notice a different level of poverty immediately. Trash litters the dusty streets of Poipet, long a jumping ... [Continue reading this entry]

The business about Cambodia

Sunday, February 19th, 2006
2/18-2/19 I looked at my schedule and realized I would be flying to China in a week. Time in S.E. Asia is running out. At breakfast I pretended to flip a coin, out of a desire for romanticism really, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tiger Man Love You Long Time

Friday, February 17th, 2006
We all decided to visit the oft spoke of lake, or rather Chieo Lan Reservoir, that the local guides compete to take the park visitors to. I mean they really talk up this lake. We decided to go ... [Continue reading this entry]

Giving blood in Thailand

Thursday, February 16th, 2006
I have found three great travel companions for my time in Khao Sok. A British woman named Louise is an epidemiologist who has been working on AIDS/HIV research in Tanzania, and two Aussie boys from Sydney, both 26, have ... [Continue reading this entry]