I left Kangding yesterday to journey further west towards Tibet on a bus that was due to leave at 6.30am. Bags packed shower had I set off at 5.45 feeling a bit sad to say good bye to Zhilam and two wonderful people I met there. I was honoured to spend the last 3 days in Kangding with Marcella and Bernardo, a couple who have cycled from Italy to here...we had a super relaxing time together, watching 5 Adam Sandler movies, eating flat yummy pasta from a muslim restaurant, dumpling soup which was so delicious and they introduced me to some of sichuans sweet treats. It was such a joy hanging out, so easy and super!
The bus journey was wild...as you'd expect heading into the wild west should be wild! I met 4 young gentlemen travelling on my bus and attached myself to them. They were 4 friends travelling together after not having been together for 4 years or so and this boys trip was their special thing. we had some complications on the bus for we sat and then were told to move to another bus so we moved and we sat and then were told to move back to the other bus but when we returned the only seats available were at the back and i had been warned specifically not to sit at the back on the road to Litang...well having no choice we sat at the back and boy was it a bumpy ride. i hit my head on the bus roof 3 times and was constantly on guard to protect myself from oncoming bumps in the road, of which there were many!!! well well...8 hours later we arrived at litang which is really cool. Tibetan architecture for homes is complete different to chinese and it's so charming. there are MANY tanned, long haired, leather jacket wearing, tall, handsome tibetan men on motorbikes cruising around as if on horses. the women wear long elegant dresses with their thick, long beautiful braids either wrapped around their heads or dangling behind. the old folk walk around with their individual spinning prayer wheels or the beads, chanting under their breaths and allow themselves to be interrupted when addressed, tashideli (which means something along the lines of may you be blessed...though i'm not 100% sure of that).
So yesterday upon arriving i cruised up and down the one street, identified my surroundings then headed back to my hostel. on my way i bumped into the four boys (they stayed in peace hostel) who were heading out to eat together. I said farewell and continued on my mission...in the hostel i sat alone and the pangs of loneliness all of a sudden crept in and sat with me. I guess i've been spoilt so far with meeting lovely folk where-ever i've stayed and spend quality time and space sharing food and good vibes and all of a sudden i felt alone. It was momentary as a german couple and I began chatting and we ate dinner together and shared stories and laughter. then slumber came and i met a new lady, a new yorker jewish journalist who had worked in Zimbabwe for a few years and knew some of mom and dad's friends from Harare...small world! We chatted before falling asleep and I arose a new woman, energized and ready for the world. the restaurant was empty so i wandered the streets for food to eat and the loneliness walked beside me silently as not to frighten me too much. I ate, i watched handsome tibetan men walk past, i wandered to the monastary walked up a hill then another all the time alone with my thoughts...and i felt that the solitude was something i had to acknowledge. So i walked further up and further away from the town, heart pumping, breath short, mind determined...and after some time i reached a peak only to see more peaks and worry started creeping in because i'd heard of a man walking on his own and breaking his leg and the rescue mission only being possible cause he'd had a phone on him and i left my phone cause no one is due to call me and then what would happen if i slipped cause the rocks were slippery and a slight drizzle was falling and the hill was steep and.....many many many more thoughts started overwhelming my little head then i heard a GONG from the monastary and it reminded me to breath. so i took a deep breath and began to laugh. I could walk down the hill and be safe and if i got wet it would be ok and there was such an amazing view and it didn't matter that i was witnessing it alone and plus if i fell and broke something...i'd have to deal with that then...no point anticipating it. I stood for a while let the drizzle dampen my physical state and calm my mental freak out and breath access my inner core. I made it down the hill with many words of encouragement from me to me to keep me motivated and safe (it was steep and slippery and raining). I made it down safely and smiled all the way back to the hostel. The loneliness now sits on my lap warm and cosy and the reality is I am alone! But now i'm ok with it and shall enjoy it while it lasts cause i'm sure soon i'll meet more super humans and share time and space once again.
I've lost FB access again...it's cold up here in the mountains (i'm over 4000 above sea level up here...no altitude problems for me :) My room is warm and cosy and clean. the food is good. the men are pretty...though i don't think i'm pretty to them...i was warned that the men were predators with their eyes when it came to foreign women but i've only received curious gazes rather than lusty leers. I've stimulated laughter too amongst some kids and ladies who find my hair style something alien and laugh worthy...kind laughs though.
I'll continue to shangrila tomorrow and will draw closer to Laos.
love and respect!