Jun 21 2010

Breakfast outside? Too big windy

The March trip to Yunnan province was a fantastic opportunity to see the province again and how glorious it was 🙂

Rough Edge took a group of five from the UK, travelling to Kunming for a couple of decompression days, followed by our arrival in Dali (after a hot bus ride of 4 hours). Once again the delightful Bird Bar was our home for a few nights and that was wonderful and chilled. We took in a day on the Cloud Pass to acclimatise ourselves at an altitude of 2400m.

In Dali we ate mostly outdoors, the temperatures were gentle and the air was sweet. The only times we didn’t eat al fresco were when our restaurant host was to tell us “no, too big windy!”

From Dali we headed once again to the oasis that is the Carnation Inn in Lijiang. Among the trinkets and tourist trash we planned our trek along Tiger Leaping Gorge.

And after a couple more hours in a bus, there we were heading into the gorge again and arriving at the extremely friendly Naxi Guest House at sunset – to some awe inspiring views across the back of the Jade Dragon Mountain range – truly wonderful 🙂

Our three days in the gorge also took in Halfway House, where the new accommodation is now complete – and very comfortable to boot.

On the final day, we took loads of video and pictures in the middle gorge and were driven out by micro-bus on a scary trip under roadworkers blasting a wider road through the rock. (Health & Safety regulations haven’t really reached Yunnan yet!)

Finally, refreshed by a night back at the Carnation Inn, we found ourselves back in Kunming and reconnected with Melodie (owner of the International Nail & Beauty Salon & a huge help in securing our accommodation on day one two weeks before).

Flying back everyone agreed it had been an action packed trip – lots of laughter, loads of welcoming and friendly people and a host of new and different experiences and sights 🙂

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Peter (one of our trip members) and his company Gripped Communications for making this short video of our Yunnan 2010 trip – take a look, it should give you a good feel for the place.

Be happy.

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics China 2010. DofE Gold Expedition. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.


Jul 23 2009

This bit’s all buses

So, Lijiang is as I left it – packed with tourists. I find the Carnation Inn again and I’m met with smiles and a warm welcome from the family there. I repack my rucsac and I can'[t quite believe just how full it is again. Mr Carnation Inn organises me a ticket to get me to Kunming – I am to take a sleeper bus…
Finding my way to the bus station for a 7pm departure the sky clouds over and there is monumental thunder and lightning and it rains, like really rains! Once at the bus station however, confusion reigns as it turns out I have been taken to the wrong bus station. Great. But thanks in no small way to the incredibly efficient ticket office clerk, for somehow she manages to track down my bus, which by now (7.40) must have already left it’s departure point and she redirects it and it comes to pick me up – awesome. However, while I have been waiting I have been admiring the extremely smart Volvo and Daewoo buses at the bus station – feeling reassured by their gleaming paintwork and efficient looking drivers and staff. As my true bus pulls in two scruffy bus drivers approach and wave me towards a much less attractive looking bus and – alarmingly – thrust Y21 back at me saying I have overpaid. This is not the most reassuring start to an overnight journey in the rain back down through the mountains of Yunnan, but hey ho – let’s see.
There are no really good pictures of this bit, just some video I took in the dead of night to give an impression of what it is like crammed onto the top bunk of a sleeper bus on a “bed” that is about 8 inches wide and surrounded by 40 other people in similarly cramped bunks all of whom seem to be suffering from chest infections. This is one journey I don’t want to repeat. Here’s dawn over the lake in Kunming. I was extremely glad to arrive here and I really didn’t care how tired I was. (Lijiang to Kunming on a “sleeper” bus 21/22 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 21 2009

The bus off and on

Image Thumbnail Image Thumbnail
Image ThumbnailImage Thumbnail It is an awesome bus, very smooth and excellently driven. So once the tyre is fixed we make good speed and head high into the mountains – passing slower traffic easily and quickly. All of a sudden though we come to a roadblock and the bus slows to a stop again. There has been a landslide and workers are suspended in harnesses high above the road to hack away at the loose earth letting it crash to the road to be cleared away. Traffic is stopped in both directions while this operation unfolds. We all head up onto the grassy hill by the road and wait in the sun, we are there for about an hour until a siren sounds, the men haul their way back up their ropes to a makeshift platform they’ve carved out of the muddy hill and traffic is allowed slowly past this obstruction – we’re off again, Lijiang is only hours away. (On and off the bus again from Zhong Dian to Lijiang 21 July)Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 21 2009

On and off the bus

Heading south from Shangri La about an hour into the journey there is a loud bang. The driver slows to a halt and his sidekick steps down from the bus to see what has happened. The bus has had a blowout on one of the rear wheels. Thinking about it now, I am quite glad it happened on the long straight flat road across the plain from Zhong Dian and not in the mountains through the pass down to the Haba range. Anyhow, there is much discussion, one incredibly small looking jack to hold the wheel aloft (people still in the bus and free to come and go both in and out of the bus throughout)… It takes about 20 minutes to fix and we are on the way again – heading south towards Lijiang and for me the place I am to be reunited with some of my travel baggage – left behind before Wenhai and the trek to Tiger Leaping Gorge… Onwards. (On the bus from Zhong Dian to Lijiang 21 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 17 2009

Let’s get out of here

Breakfast was shouted at eight o’clock. Peter had become dizzy and ill during the night, I knew it was the altitude that was affecting him and I decided we would lose some height and find an alternative route to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Measly Mr Gobby brought me an egg fritter, it was OK. Peter was sleeping, feeling very tired indeed. There was no sign of anything else edible or drinkable, so I got out the jetboil and made coffee which I drank with ‘France Bread’ – kind of weightless pre-packed sweet rolls I had picked up in the supermarket in Lijiang for this very occasion. Byebye Mr Gobby, bye bye barking dogs, bye bye fleapit ‘restaurant’ Ni Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaau! (still just as funny) (Escape from Wenhai’s worst host 13 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 17 2009

Getting high to Wenhai

Blue T shirtSo after the rain stopped, I set out from Lijiang with Peter. We were heading for Baisha and thereafter upwards onto the mountain range to the west. With the awesome Jade Dragon Mountain range to our north east. Our intended stopover was a village by a lake called Wenhai. The weather again threatened but for the most part held off as we made our way through dense forest above a monastery/tea house/farm at 2600m. In time we emerged onto a dirt road, a very, very long and winding dirt road. It meandered some 12k up the side of the mountain topping out at 3150m with a view down to the lake and eventually the village of Wenhai. Here we were bound to find a warm welcome, some food and a bed for the night… As we made our way into the village there seemed no sign of guest houses or inns, but after asking a group of farmers – chatting together at the end of the day – we were directed to a restaurant – wow, what luck!

Before committing however, I took a look around the village – and stopped at the local shop – think Londis at 3100m in the sky. So then on to our rural welcome, this was great… a restaurant, how lucky 🙂 (Wenhai Village 3050m 12 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 12 2009

Rain stops play

Blue T shirtSunday morning and it is raining. No it is pouring. (not sure about the old man). When (if) this stops we’ll start our trip. Hmmm. (Lijiang 12 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 12 2009

It’s better on the edge

P1030625Whilst the crowds and souvenirs of Lijiang may be suffocating, it isn’t hard to find a breath of fresh air and some great views on a walk out of town – through the public park and out of the back gate – onwards and upwards right away from town. Random areas of the hill are quarried and dogs bark when you pass houses. An old woman is tending her vegetables by a stream. Back down the track in the outskirts of the new town is a reservoir, people were swimming. It is the best view from a free public swimming pool I have ever seen. I eat fried potato on a stick and head back to the hordes past meticulously clean cafes in scruffy roadside buildings. Planning is underway to avoid the classic bus to Tiger Leaping Gorge and trek there instead; around the back of the awesome Jade Dragon Mountain (above)(5596m) The Chinese say it’s 13 peaks hold up the sky. This little trip needs preparation and – ideally – maps… hmmmm. Fear not, later I am to meet Lily, she knows the moutains, she runs an Eco tourist bureau and she will be able to help. (Lijiang 10 July)P1030628

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 9 2009

A roof and some food

Maybe I have done Lijiang down, but you really can’t escape the fact this is a tourist trap China style. Two things have struck me though, the remarkable maze of roofs and the solid local Naxi food. The Naxi bread is pretty similar to an Indian paratha – although the ones I have eaten so far have been sweet with a kind if treacle inside. So here are some roofs and some food and we’ll get out of the city tomorrow and see some of the real Lijiang County. (Lijiang Old Town 9 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce