Saturday, March 10, 2007

Danba

Hey everyone,

I have responded to your comments from last entry so you can check that out...

Here is a little background on our recent excursion into western Sichuan. Earlier in the week we left Chengdu for Songpan. Songpan is a beautiful town that somewhat resembles Banff in that its surrounded by mountains and has Chinese script on every store. On the bus there we met Pauline, a lovely French artist, who would become our travel partner for the next few days. When we got to Songpan we were ushered into the Traffic Hotel (part of the bus station) and stayed there the first night. It was brutally cold and the toilet didn't work. Fortunately they had electric heating blankets which became our best friends. The next day Pauline, Austin and I set out on a two day horse trek to Erdaohai Park. The views were pretty spectacular and our guides, Lee and John, were a lot of fun.

After our trek we booked our tickets to Maerkang, because there were no buses to Danba. In Maerkang we were met by a very sweet Tibetan girl who ushered us to a hotel (with water, and hot water at that!) where we stayed the night. The next day we woke up bright and early to catch the bus to Danba. We went to the bus station near the hotel and, after much gesticulation from a security guard there, figured out that we needed to go to another station across town. We got there just in time and booked our tickets. They apparently had no power because they were processing the tickets by candlelight. The bus we took was probably transporting people during the time of Mao. It was rickety but seemed to do all right, with the exception of a couple small breakdowns. We met two Buddhist monks who were fun to converse with, us in our broken Chinese and them in their broken English. It seems to me that the Buddhist monks (at least the younger ones) are the most decked out technology-wise. The pair we met had a 10 megapixel digital camera, mp3 players and cell phones. I've seen this with many other monks in Sichuan.

We arrived in Danba yesterday and met up with Baird, one of Liz and Doug's friends. We had a great time with him and even taught some of his English class at the middle school. Austin (a natural teacher) and I taught the kids "Head and Shoulders" as well as some basic conversation. Later we went to the Xinhua hotel and managed to get 50% off since we were students. The hotel room includes our own bathroom and shower! Today we went for a hike near Danba and spent a few hours relaxing in the honk-free countryside. You'd think one would get used to people honking their horns, but it just isn't so. Tomorrow we may explore Danba a bit more and perhaps go to Suopuo, which has some ancient towers I'm told.

- Will

9 comments:

ajve said...

Hi Will,
How far are you from the T-border? We are trying to find Danba on the map. What major city are you close to?

Nathan said...

I've gone outside a total of 12 minutes in the last 10 days.

Bri said...

Hey Will! I always find your updates intriguing. It's interesting that the monks would be the most technologically advanced... kinda strange...
Are you picking up on the language quite fast? Can you read any of it?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Will--
What an incredible journey you are on! Kind of "Amazing Race"ish! So what are you learning about yourself?
God bless--I pray for you.
Sandra H.

ajve said...

Hey Will, how was the trip to HK? Did you contact Patricia?

Aleesa said...

WILLIAM!
I am just looking at pictures from mexico right now and I can't even believe how long ago it was!
It makes me SO sad that I don't see you or your wonderful family as much as I used to!!
I hope you are doing well! Sounds like you're having so much fun.
Stay safe and come home soon, you are missed muchly over here in boring old Canada!
xoxo~Alyssa

ajve said...

Will, when are you updating your blog. We want some details!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with your mother...what is happening...slaker...lol. I have been reading Austins Blog even though for the past week it has been pic's, and all in Chengdu, at least he added the beautifull pic's I really liked the panda pic's myself... I am glad that Austin is back with you and safe in Singapore.
Aunt Sue

Will said...

Hey everyone,

I know it's been many weeks since I've posted or responded. I apologize!

Mom, I promise not to take so long to blog! I blame it on the expensive internet in Hong Kong. I did meet up with Patricia and had a wonderful time. She introduced me to a delicious Hong Kong dessert whose name I can't remember. They were white doughy balls filled with sweet black sesame paste.

Hey Alyssa,
Glad to hear from you!!! When was Mexico? Was that October 2005? That was long ago...Our families most definately need to do a joint BBQ and/or Puerto Vallarta trip again.

Hey Aunty Sue,
Thanks for the email and the comment! Again, my apologies on my slacker-ness. We are now in Indonesia and enjoying budget travel again!

Hey Nate, FEEL THE WIND ON YOUR SKIN! NO-ONE ELSE CAN FEEL IT FOR YOU! ONLY YOU CAN LET IT IN!

Hey Bri,
The monk thing was very interesting...As for the language, learning Chinese is beyond the realm of possibility for a stay of only two months. However, now that we are in Indonesia, the language is much more accessible and I can already communicate a little.

Hey Sandra,
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. I have learned a lot about myself during the trip and also come to appreciate home much more.

Talk to you all later,
Will