Feilai Si

2nd, 7th April 2004.

Feilai Si is about 10kms from Dequin, it is here that we stayed before starting the four day Buddhist pilgrimage trek to Mystic Waterfall.  It offers beautiful views of the nearby Meili Xueshan mountain range.

This is the view from outside our guesthouse. People come here to leave prayer flags and to burn juniper incense to placate the spirit of the mountains.

The women who sell the incense sticks run out to work whenever there is a tourist bus nearby.

This main chorten picture was taken at night. Here you can see the view of where we were going to trek. The pass we trekked over is centre frame and just above the snow line.

The main peak on the left is Miacimu at 6504m, and the peak on the right is Kawa Karpo at 6740m.

We set off early the next morning making our way down through the prayer flags from 3,450m down to the Lancang (Mekong) River at 2,100m, before heading back up to Xi Dan at 2,200m.

Everyone who is anyone has a visor in China, we had to get one and it was a steal at less than 50 cents.  This is Jason (Zoolander) posing by cherry blossom.

This was the view that we saw on returning here after our trek.  As you can see we were very lucky to have such good views when we got here the first time as now it was raining and covered in an eery mist.

On the day we returned we visited Kawa Karpo mountain and the Mingyong Glacier.

It was not easy to get to Feilai Si and it took some determination. We had waited a week to go from Zhongdian to Deqin as the road was covered in snow.  Once they were running, we managed to get the first bus out. Here you can see the state of the road over the 4,000m+ pass. Beautiful, but very slippery for a bus rammed with 40 people.

Our bus driver seemed content with driving out of the tracks made by previous cars and buses in order that he could get the bus stuck in the snow at every opportunity.  We were told the bus journey would take 5 hours, by this stage it had taken 7 hours and it looked pretty bleak. On the upside most of the chain-smoking Chinese were starting to run out of cigarettes.

The whole mentality of the driver and his helpers was actually fascinating and more than a little frustrating. There seemed to be no rush to dig the bus out of danger, it was an opportunity for chucking rubbish packets out on the road, or another cigarette break.

Jason and I were tearing our hair out. Snow chains appeared about three hours after we first got stuck in the snow. It was a shame they wouldn't let Jason help put them on as it might have saved us another hour.

Dopey here was sat opposite us, he smoked two packets of cigarettes and by the 11th hour on the bus had decided to sleep cause he had run out of cigarettes.  Apparently in China, it is a sign of wealth to smoke as much as you can on a bus. The rude loud man behind us didn't like us having our window open (and was quite vocal about it) so it made a nice relaxing journey for us.

The non smoking Chinese tourist girl behind Dopey was driven to tears and could be heard later howling to her boyfriend between the paper thin walls in our guesthouse.

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