Tibet – Almost
We arrived in Zhongdian (Shangri-la in Chinese) which by any other name would be in Tibet. Tibetan houses, stupas strung with prayer flags, yaks in the fields, people in flowing red and gold robes walking around. We have stepped into another time and place.
Our new guide, Tenzin is Tibetan, born here, but raised in Dharmasala, India. He returned here recently to be with his family. Not on our schedule, we have engaged him to take us to his family village to learn about and meet some Tibetan people. I am looking forward to this and hope that there are children there to whom I can give the last 3 dolls I still have with me. It’s been hard in China to connect with the families of the people around us, but here in Zhongdian, the world seems to be different.
Last night we sat in the cafe at our weird hotel with three young people doing a kind of internship in the hotel. They are from all over China, but the one who caught our attention is from Inner Mongolia. Li (or Lee) is a journalist, violinist, student of sales, bartender, great watcher of American television and all around delightful guy. All three of these kids are engaging and were interested in hearing about us and telling us about themselves.
We met them in one of those bizarre occurrences that happen when one is traveling. We settled into our hotel here, which is heated by radiant coils in the floor. That was great to start until the floor got too hot to put one’s feet or anything else on. English being very sparse here, I took a picture of the 30 degree showing thermostat and took it to the front desk. Asked for instructions. Lee said that the thermostat was not adjustable. I showed him the 30 degree picture. This resulted in the three interns, two other hotel staff and eventually the manager, along with one of the hotel’s two dogs, crowding into the room hallway trying to fix the heat. It was something out of the keystone cops. Hilarious. I wish we had been alert enough to take some pix.