Thursday, September 1, 2011


We walk old town after we get back to Jiliang. The town square is teeming with people from everywhere. There are performers and  a hodge-podge of eating places. We witness a rat being carried out of a candy shop with a tongs.

If only we could speak the language. What tales might this fellow tell?
You have to cross the moat on makeshift boards in some places to visit a shop.

Like this Chinese couple we could have had “fast food”, but instead we chose to dine at crowded tables along the moat for our evening meal.

We choose various sticks of vegetables and meat served with a small wok of  hot oil to cook it in. Safe!  We avoid the snails, pig tails, pigs  feet, crickets, grasshoppers, ants, beetles, lizard  and the ever popular dog meat, even though the Naxi love their pets. Maybe they love them too much.  Vicki buys an unattractive looking bean cake with spices for all of us to taste and it is delicious. Sweets in this part of China have been very good. Our last night in Jiliang, reluctant to let go, we enjoy the street  party until 11 p.m.

In the morning, we take the bus up the mountain again, this time to view Tiger Leaping Gorge. The gorge is on the Yangtze and stretches about 10 miles  along the Chinese and Tibetan border. The Chinese claim it is the  deepest canyon in the world and are planning to obliterate it and build a dam. This gorge is also a UNESCO site.  We are hooked up with a rickshaw driver for the two miles up  the canyon.
We get our first look at what is ahead.

The rickshaw journey ends at the spot where the Emperor went hunting and aimed at a tiger. It escaped by jumping across the gorge at one of its narrowest points. Thus the name of the gorge. The gorge may have been narrower then, but from what we could see, no animal could have jumped the 70-75 feet across the gorge.

On the return, we pay our drivers off and tell them we’d rather walk. The canyon is beautiful but the road is ever more fascinating, chiseled out of solid stone.
At one point I tried to get an idea how the railing was attached to the wall.

Leaning over, I could barely see  the super structure.  For the  most part the posts seem to be sunk into the solid rock and you wonder how they built this marvelous road without huge machinery.

In some places the posts seem perilously close to a disintegrating edge. And, in fact, at one spot in our two-mile stretch, soldiers stood guard to prevent anyone from wandering too close to the edge.

We came to a spot where the road continues down an adjoining canyon, blocked to us.  Vicki says backpackers go everywhere in the canyon.
Far below us, the water rushes and sings over the rocks.

In other places it is calm and serene. Always beautiful.

At every turn in the road is another sheer wall tapestry of rock formations. Tomorrow we leave this area for Kumning.

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