Sunday, October 7, 2012

change of direction

when i left canada i had a vague plan.
i was thinking of doing mongolia then going through western china to get to pakistan.
spend about a month in pakistan and then decided where next from there.
but as my time in mongolia drew to a close, i had a decision to make.
tourists kept getting killed on the exact buses and bus route i would have been on in order to cross the border to pakistan.
i kept getting emails from my mom.
'i know youll make the right decision bumper'
*my parents call me bumper
'stay safe kid' etc.
i came to the saddened conclusion that i shouldnt head west. that it wasnt meant to be.
so as you saw a couple entries ago, i sent a package home. full of all my outdoor gear.
tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, hiking boots, wool socks, etc.
i had picked a new direction. one that wouldn't require that type of gear.
i decided to head to thailand. lands of smiles :)

boris, me, georgie and the terrcotta army in xi'an china.
couchsurfing with tong and yue helped a lot with getting me started in my new direction. they booked two train tickets for me. one from beijing to xian. and the other, xian to chengdu. both were 13 hour night trains. they got me first class and second class sleepers for the journey.
xian is known for its terracotta warriors. which i saw when i was little on a national discovery program. i also read about them on rob lilwalls blog when he walked from mongolia to hong kong this year. xian is where i met liling and boris, and rid myself of my aforementioned cave feet.
chengdu is known for their pandas. so pandas is what i did. i joined three aussies and made the early morning trip into see the endangered species.
after i got my panda fix i headed west, towards tibet.
i took an eight hour bus ride to a town called kangding. on the ride there i met a german guy around my age named christopher. we hit it off right away and ended up traveling for over a week together. we stayed a couple nights in kangding before taking a mini bus further into the tibetan area for a couple nights. we hiked to a tibetan nunnery, ate yak yogurt and stayed the most colorful guesthouse ive ever seen!
me and christopher in tagong
my colorful guesthouse near tibet
the next leg of our journey was traveling further south along the sichuan-tibetan highway. i ended up taking an 18 hour bus ride from kangding to daocheng. the bus traveled along single lane, unpaved mountain passes, no guardrails. it was one of the most terrifying things ive done. luckily i loaded up on motion sickness tablets and slept for a good chunk of the journey. i was very conscious of my ipods battery life. the last thing i wanted was to be without music to drown the chinese classics that were being blasted throughout the bus.
but my bus binge didnt stop in daocheng. it was just a twenty-four hour stopover before my next bus. daocheng to shangrila.

dali, china

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