From Vietnam To China

Day 19 - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - Extra Day in Gyalthang, China - Duane's Birthday; Valley of the Blue Moon Cable Car Ride; Visit Tibetan Family Home

There was a glimpse of sunshine when we woke up; the temperature was 47° and the humidity was 73%. Today was an extra day in Shangri-La because there were no flights to Kunming. We chose to celebrate Duane’s 80th Birthday in Gyalthang.

Tashi and Pang Ga were with us for an additional day for more sightseeing. We had hoped for clear skies to go up into the mountains on the cable car, but it was still cloudy. As this was our last day on our trip, we decided to go ahead in spite of the weather.

Along the entrance to the Valley of the Blue Moon Cable Car, the road is bordered on both sides with decorative red rock stupas. There are many tall drying racks for grain and also grazing yaks in the surrounding fields.

We bought our tickets as this experience was not included in our package. There are two cable cars, the first stops at the Yarlha Chenbo Pasture where we were able to watch the Tucha Performers practicing.

The young people were extremely vivacious and their ability to dance in the pouring rain was remarkable. We were amazed by their brightly colored costumes, especially their decorated boots.

We took a few minutes to look at the herbal medicines in the gift shop and then rode the second cable car to the top. In a few more minutes of climbing and a few more hundred feet of altitude, the light rain became a heavy snow.

Vic and Tashi walked the upper loop and found the temperature to be 28°, the humidity was 100%, and the winds were gusting to 24 mph. The altitude was 14,596 feet. We were in the Hindustan Range and hoping to get to see a view of the Himalayan Mountains, but no such luck today!

Gennie waited in the shelter and did not venture out into the blizzard. She marveled at the many Chinese tourists who wore red rental parkas and inhaled oxygen that they had purchased at the midpoint station.

As we rode down the mountain, we had great memories of our Colorado skiing adventures. Duane, Joanne, and Pang Ga met us at the parking lot and we drove back to the city for lunch.

This noon we went to the Noah Café and were greeted with a large glass of very hot water. The hot water was not only good to drink, but was also great to warm our hands after our trip to the mountain tops.

We tried a Tibetan pizza which was very good. Duane chose a chicken and mushroom bowl of noodles. Tashi told him it was a Chinese tradition that eating noodles on one’s birthday brought long life!

Our quest for the afternoon was to find another farm house to visit. We drove into a small conclave of farms and stopped at one home where Tashi asked the grandmother if it would be alright for us to visit her and get to know more about the farm life of these Tibetan people.

The lady was very willing to pose for photos and tell us about her home until a daughter came in and was less than happy we were there for a visit. We thanked them and left to find a home where we were more welcome.

We saw a man walking with his child and Tashi approached him about having visitors. He was more than happy to invite us in and show us around. His mother came home and was also very welcoming.

At 2:30 we came back to the hotel and started our “homework” of writing and photos. We also began packing our bags for our long journey back to Monument Hill in the morning.

Tashi and Pang Ga came to pick us up at 6:00 for Duane’s birthday dinner at Tara’s restaurant. We made a stop in the town center where we climbed the steps to the Buddhist Shrine and the biggest prayer wheel in the world.

Our dinner was wonderful, a Tibetan hot pot and many side dishes that were Uttara’s special recipes. Tashi and Uttara had arranged for a huge birthday cake for Duane making it a perfect celebration of his 80th birthday!

After dinner Vic took a few night photos of the temple and the prayer wheel, beautifully illuminated. We came back to the hotel to finish the journal and get some sleep for our long flights tomorrow.

Accommodations: Gyalthang Dzong Hotel - - - Meal: B & D

Please see our Trip Evaluation -- Click Here -- A Complete Review of Myths and Mountains -- From Vietnam to China: Ethnic People of the Border -- China with Tashi Lamasang


From very warm days to a snowy day. What a trip! Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures!

Lindy Powell   April 30, 2012 - 1:03am

I love the picture of the farm house main room, so different from a typical Kansas farm house.

Susan   April 28, 2012 - 6:59pm

Really interesting adventures, as usual, and great photos. Thanks for doing this.

Marvin   April 28, 2012 - 4:11pm
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Tucha Dancers - Dancing in the Rain, Snow and Cold

Tucha Dancers - Dancing in the Rain, Snow and Cold (1:19)

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Stupa and Drying Racks

Stupa and Drying Racks

Valley of the Blue Moon Cable Cars

Valley of the Blue Moon Cable Cars

Blizzard at 14,596 feet

Blizzard at 14,596 feet

Farm House Main Room

Farm House Main Room

Farm Yard

Farm Yard

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