« China Day 10 - Amazing monasteries in TongrenChina Day 12 - Around Xiahe »

China Day 11 - Ganjia Grasslands

Added: September 30, 2009

Tags: China photos
It is raining. I knew it yesterday it is good idea to go to Long Wu monastery while weather is fair! Thursday 16th of July started with complete cloud cover with occasional rainfall. It is not bad for travelling, but our photos are doomed.

We started with short visit to a local market and shops in Tongren , buying some groceries, fruit and other essential things for picnic. We should have picnic today :-)

Road to grasslands

After our departure from Tongren we passed along Wutun Si monastery and shortly after that the bus started climbing to hills. We passed several mud buildings. Our first stop was in nice country side with wonderful muddy-rocky hills. A small monastery was on top of one. Only that weather... How am I supposed to make nice photos here? :-)



Shortly before next stop I have nearly jumped out of bus (figuratively). I could see amazing mountains and the bloody bus was moving.

Finally it stopped I got out and went about 200m back. Unfortunately photos resulting from this stop did not do justice to place we have seen. In the meantime all people got out of bus and went in other direction. So we have not stopped for my photos, but because we were bound to see a local village.

The village was full of mud houses. The road, muddy of course, was full of "pieces from animals". We stopped at the first gate and Rich explained us meanings of different decorations. We have learned from rating label occupier of this house have not received star for being good neighbour. I hope he does not own shotgun... Fortunately only baby sitter was at home so we were not allowed into court yard.

We were allowed to courtyard in following house, but again no luck in seeing an interior. Courtyard was simple, but still rather interesting. And they had the kitten!


Alien invasion of 20 needs close observation.
DSC_6298_raw      DSC_6305_raw



We continued in our trip. After short time the country started to look like Low Tatras in Slovakia, but it changed quite quickly to something new for me. Ganjia grasslands.

Gracious curves of green velvety drapery were everywhere until they met with mountains at the horizon. Moody low hanging clouds and fog tried to help, but somehow I found it hard to produce photos I wished to make. It is strange, I always liked these weather conditions, but usually failed to produce attractive photos.

We stopped and ventured to nearby hill. That was the place where our picnic should take place. But it was cancelled due to rain :-( So I've done non-arranged group photo, then a few of surroundings and we could go back to bus.





We have been on the road for several hours. Grassy hills were everywhere. Road slowly deteriorated and got worse as we were closer to Xiahe.

We could see many nomadic tents along the road and we slowly stopped to take photos of yaks as we got used to them.






Finally we arrived to Xiahe. We were rather lucky to get there. Not because the road was terrible, nearly non-existent at one place, but because we were allowed to get in. Xiahe was closed to tourists (also Chinese) for about 1.5 year, it was opened only 2 weeks before our arrival.

We stopped at the police barrier before town, policemen were studying all documentation our guides had, made phone calls and eventually let us go. With warning if any of us will take photo of police of military we will be sent back we came from and our guide to jail... It was not needed, we've just came from Tibet so we knew the drill.

Xiahe was the smallest town we visited. It is one main street, with a few short side streets. If some job was easy in Xiahe it would be cab driving. All cabs do only one thing - go from one end of that street to Labrang Monastery and back. That's it. No hard memorizing of street names or learning how to get to given place through alternative route :-)

So that's how grassy hills look like when sun is shining... just quick snapshot as we arrived to Xiahe.