After a good night's sleep, much needed after the excitement of the day before, we woke up and prepared to head back to "civilization." Our host had to go round up the horses so in the meantime Tali, Jana and I hiked up to the top of the ridge near the tent. The view was spectacular but for some reason I chose not to bring my camera on this one so you all will just have to take my word for it (note to everyone: Never don't take your camera with you!). As we were coming back down to the tent our host was just arriving back with the horses, driving them from wherever they had wandered off to in the night.
Our plan was to head back towards town with a stop for lunch at the home of another guide. Most of the people around here come from families that were traditionally nomadic. Obviously the two families we had just stayed with still follow that lifestyle, moving two or three times a year to graze their yak and sheep. Some families though have given up the nomadic life for permanent homes. From what I understand most of this is heavily "encouraged" by the government. The small homes have electricity, are set up on a series of roads and have better access to the big towns, but it does seem that there is something missing. There are no yak, no sheep, no horses and the people's entire way of life has changed. With that said, the family we visited for lunch seemed happy, especially their young son who was really into the idea of having visitors.
This young boy was really into showing us his stuff, like his cat...
...and his guitar...
...and didn't really want us to go.
After lunch we continued on back to Langmusi. We arrived back on the edge of town where we dismounted and tied up the horses. They don't put shoes on the horses around here because there is so much snow and ice most of the year so walking on the paved roads is really uncomfortable for the horses. We walked the rest of the way back to the office where we thanked everyone one said goodbye to our guide and Jana and then went next door to our guest house to crash.
We woke up the next day with a few hours to kill before our bus to the next town so we decided to head up and check out one of the two monasteries in town. We chose the Sertri Gompa (on the Gansu side of town) mostly because it was the closer of the two to walk to. Much like the monastery in Zoige we were free to just walk around and check out the grounds on our own although some monks were asking for a donation at the gate of the monastery which we were more than happy to pay.
After our walk it was time to get back to the center of town to catch our bus to the next town Xiahe, home of the famous Labrang Monastery.
Until next time, Ian
If you have missed any of the previous installments of this series you can check them out here: