Sunday, October 21, 2012

May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks

I have returned from the magical and beautiful Tibetan Plateau!

I've been trying to find words to describe the trip. Let's say that if the adventure was a book, it would be a deep, good book, and if it was a snack it would be a delectable and nutritious fruity granola bar.
It dawned on me about the second to last day in the most comfortable, quilt-plumped tent I've ever slept in that I will return to Hong Kong with a small hole in my heart. How fitting was it that I brought The Hobbit there! From the day I signed up the goal was always to find a Middle Earth requiem there and I did. I I feel like Bilbo at 111, saying,

"I want to see mountains again, mountains Gandalf! And then find somewhere quiet where I can finish my book."

Perhaps one of the largest reasons I am so emotionally attached to this trip is because it was my first time ever seeing it snow. I remember returning from one of the most nasty public toilets I've ever set foot in, trekking back to the bus in the freezing weather of 3200 m above sea level, and seeing white drifts of sprinkled snow float around me. The last character in my Chinese name means snowflake, and I've yet to see that (it will need to be colder) but the snow was absolutely lovely. The hail that came ramming down on the first day of biking was incredible too... little pellets of ice... 

It was also very gratifying to see the beginnings of the Yellow River. Back to a bit of name history now; the first two characters of my dad's Chinese name denote the 'Yellow River.' So, very special for me. We arrived in the morning, and the mist was all over the river. Beautiful.

And then, of course, who can forget the multicolored tree and mountain landscape of the Jiu Zhai Gou valley? The mountain scenery was one of a kind. Driving down the 9 switchbacks to the village, I felt I was in Canada, and not China! Tibetans are very likely my favourite type of people at the moment. So warm and embracing! I had my decent share of yak-viewing and eating there (yak jerky is quite tasty). On another note, horse riding on the mountains was a major success for me, one of the main reasons I wanted to go on this trip. Going up and down the steep slope on horseback and then having it accelerate to a quick trot was so satisfying. So, check! 

The saddest part was having to leave, and we parted with this incredible view from the plane. But, like Bilbo, I promise to go back again, to breathe the clean air, tread the mountains, and see the snow. Even if it takes me until my one hundred and eleventieth birthday... I will see the mountains once more!