Jul 6 2009

The cave, a fire and some old potatoes

So, here we are on the sacred moutain Mu Xiang Ping (or as the Master says, Chicken Foot Lotus Mountain). The good thing about all the effort to get to this place is there is no entrance charge and therefore no ‘tourist’ facilities (like chair lifts, or beautifully manicured paths with picnic areas). The challenging thing is that it is all a bit random. Unlike mountains in the UK, stripped long ago of their trees and vegetation, this mountain like many others in Yunnan is a living place. There are probably ten other cow boys – like the one helping us. Everyone offers us food or tea, or just a place to rest. If we wanted to, we would be welcome to stay. There are communities and they are welcoming of any visitor. As an outsider it feels strange, but it is just the way it is – and the welcome is one of genuine warmth. Anyway, back to our cow boy and the continuing journey. We walk for about an hour and here he points to a shack in the hillside. All around are stunning views, the shack has a homemade gate and a long-deserted vegetable patch. We go into this abandoned homestead, the farmer boy bids us goodbye and says he will bring us food tomorrow morning. Within no time, Xiao Bing has lit a fire in the small ‘fire room’ and found some seeded potatoes that he proceeds to cook and eat. (He also finds some of the monk’s abandoned rice store, but he fears there is too much mouse shit in it for it to be edible – hmmm, nice) (Mu Xiang Ping 4 July)

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