Lose the map

Welcome to LoseTheMap, former diary of travels around Asia, then account of everyday life in Moscow, and now with my family in Berlin - VERSIONE ITALIANA

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

China Part 3

Shots: http://picasaweb.com/lostconversation/China2

Yes, yes, still China, and i love it!

Time is flying by and weeks are restlessly accumulating, leaving beautiful memories, emotions and much more hardly describable... the world is in my hand!
In these last 2 months i quit looking for answers and definitions about this country, that just limited myself to live it and, maybe, thinking about it in the end, it should works!

So, i left you at Chengdu, another huge Chinese city, definitely better than Xian, at least here i've seen the sun!
Some talks with foreigners and locals, much more open-minded and definitely far from what i've seen till now, everything is possible!
No more buses, new ways of wandering around is to catch lifts on electrics scooters: no pollution, 2 words in Chinese and off you go! Crossingthe city till the next traffic light, belly laughs and ubiquity!

But like in all these big cities you end up that you can't wait to leave them and find yourself on the road, looking for less people and more adventures; therefore leading south, next stop is Leshan: the Big Buddha
70 meters tall is the tourist attraction, but sleeping in the uni camp doing mayhem with students and climbing over the walls eluding guards and cameras has been the adventure: some scratches i got, balanced by tons of adrenaline and most importantly my small revenge against the regime!

The hot has still to come: Gongga Shan, a 7500 mt high mountain, at the Eastern entry of the Tibetan plateau, which has glaciers sliding of 4000. I was there with this Chinese walking on it trying not to fall in a chasm and hoping to see the peak, chronically clouded.
In fact after 2 hours walk jumping over ice: there it is the peak, and there are clouds, ahhhh, 2 days i'm here for you God of the mountain cum'on...
The Chinese friend rubbs his hands and start reciting the mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum", i copy him full of hope... all Tibet is with me cum'on...
After 15 minutes praying with closed eyes my crazy friend starts screaming "Gongga Shaaaaaan!" Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Slowly the clouds open up and there it is: the peak in front of me! Like 2 morons jumping on ice singing and laughing, and for my first time after my communion at 12 i prayed again and it worked well, and this scares me a lot!

Gazing at it for a while eating crappy cookies, greetings to the village at the feet of the mountain and off again, hitchhiking first on a heavy truck and then with 2 crazy chinese riding motorbikes
with amps on their backs, guitars strapped and with operating microphones!

Afterwards here i am in Litang, which is not officially Tibet but people are99% Tibetan, a stunning town dipped into a stunning landscape filled with stunning people: smiling farmers, holy monks and smiling kids: before conceiving one, i want to photograph all of them, all around the world!

I spent 2 weeks between Litang and Dali together with a good French travelmate (ma vaf...!) great friend. We went from small villages to big monastries, riding tractors and crappy chinese bikes; in those 2 weeks i wasn't in China, i was in a sunny limbo at high-flying, with all these different people and amazing landscapes!
The only clouds i've seen in Deqin, height 4000, and much more than clouds, snowstorm!
Then, by bus 6 hours were needed to cross the mountain and go to Zhongdian (Shangri-la), but after 5 h we were trapped 10 km from departure point, shoveling snow and fixing the bus, panic!

I was wearing washerwoman's gloves at my feet, trying to not freeze, and i finally got the idea of leaving the bus and jumping on a 4wd. After a few hours we were out of snow! Safe asses and boiling tea restoring throat and feet, and i'm fed up of mountains!

Shangri-la e Lijiang, in Yunnan province, are nice towns but hypertouristic, and the beautiful landscapes around were covered by bad weather, therefore some rest in hostel, some chats with other foreigner and Chinese backpackers, yeah sometimes is nice to have a rest.

Slowly getting out of amazing Tibetan area i was entering the heart of Yunnan, where minds become more and more south-east Asian and nature starts to be more exotic, palm trees and bamboo and go-goo.
I got to Dali unaware of many good surprises: a nice and easy going old town, surrounded by walls, to the east by a lake and to the west by a mountain, a micro ecosystem, like from the books.
In Dali live's around various ethinc groups, some foreigner seeking to relax and some artists escaping from the chaotic Beijing, why? Because at the side of the streets Ganja grows freely!
I found myself in a little Amsterdam much more chilled, relaxed and even performing!
I play on it well, having 2 weeks of holiday from my travel, and together with some Japanese hyppies i made my first juggling performance on the street paying myself a dinner and learning to walkon the rope! Yeah!
Bongo drums, guitars, juggling, cookies, nice music, girls and spliffs, great holiday!

One day i got this great idea of climbing up the mountain with a bike on my shoulder: 3 hours with my lungs outside and my tongue touching my feet, i really thought to end it up there... but then, maybe allucinated, i saw a spring and a path, my saviour!
Some relaxing under the roar of the waterfall and then a new adventure: 30 mins downhill on a gravel road without brakes, the sun was setting and i was soooooooooooo free! yeah! Love this life!

Oh, so many stories...! And that sunday evening, cradled by space cake and Japanese electronic music i got this proposal of learing kung-fu! Kung-fu? Who cares? Ok let's do it!
7 days of cleaning up myself inside and outside: no bad habits, vegan food, jogging at 7 am and 6 hours trainig every day in a monastry up in the mountain with an excellent lake view.
Far from everything and everybody you learn to manage all the power inside of you. Well not all, let's say 5%. It was enough, power is in my hands!

Ok buddies, it's time to leave. On the road again, 2 weeks left in China and i want to make them mine: thumbs up, heading south.
Trucks, vans, 4wd, suvs and deluxe cars made in China brought me to Dehong, at Burma's border, there i literally walked on the border, after that bridge Burma was waiting for me, but burocracy obstruct me; i will make it one day, Burma remains as a target, especially after this meeting with an Indo-Burmese family, who was speaking to me in third person: instead of "Do you want some coffee?" they were saying "This brother wants coffee?" Thank you, brothers.

Huh, again: the afternoon spent drinking Chinese wodka with some policemen out of service that brought me back home with the police van, 1000 lifts from 1000 smiling Chinese, a day spent with actors and a cinematic troup that were making a movie about old China, a trip on soft hills candy-shaped and in a huge cave with lights, shadows and stalactites. Then i got in this small nameless town, and i found myself amongst girls dancing with fluorescent yellow clothes and beating drums; i tought it was a wedding or something, in the end i found out it was a funeral... but the crowd was more attracted be me than by the rituals... mah...

Now i'm in Xishuangbanna, extreme south, land of elephants. Sadly i have no time, i'm running as my visa expires tomorrow, yeah it's timeto change buddies!

The draw finally chose for... Laos!
Then, avoiding the unforeseen, the next days i should be jumping on the Mekong river and starting a new adventure: South-east Asia!

Goodbye China, land of talking calculators, neon lights, ugly buildings with swimming pool tiles, 1 bathroom for each village, meals so hot and spicy that afterwards you feel like a spitfire dragon, hectolitres of boiling tea, toilet paper instead of napkins, "fuck offgood manners", people smiling, pushing, spitting, smoking, screaming, kids that love to play with me, that cry at my sight, beautiful girls, beautiful girls, mountains, clouds, anti-smog masks, electric scooters, crappy carts, full optional aircon suv, martial arts,communism, capitalism, buddhism, daoism, atheism, psycological terrorism and much, too much more.

The only regret i have that i couldn't find time to tattoo my name in Chinese on my biceps, a good reason to come back!

In China i coined my first aphorisms (!),
editing already existing ones:
1 - It doesn't matter where you arrive, but where you start
2 - I'm not looking for myself, but for all the rest

I will skip the enigmatic solution, you can think about it if you want, let's say that both, the end and the begin are connected in a circular process, metaphysic but in the end easy and honest: don't forget your roots and keep your eyes wide open...

Finally, closing this all-knowing moment, let me say, frankly speaking to the whole world: i'm not the first in telling, neither in doing it,but if you have something running through your head, a revolutionary idea or a foolish thing... if you wanna travel around the world or set up family, fuck off everybody or get yourself into politics, open up an ice cream shop at North Pole or a beach umbrella shop in the Sahara desert... go for it: don't let fear fuck you like a bitch or time crumbling you like a statue, everything is possible, really, you just need to want it most of all.
On my side hope and think of reaching it on time: both in front of a monitor numbed by a render or on a Tibetan cart chasing the sun i always try to squeeze it and making it mine, this great stuff that continues, changes, turns around and pushes: life.
If you rather want things to stay exactly the same, well, it would be nice, but this is the hardest challenge... good luck!

New millennium Absolute relativism, bros!

Xie Xie China, fuck you all!

Shots: http://picasaweb.com/lostconversation/China2

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