Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Because of the popularity of James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon, which introduced Shangri-La and is said have been written on an inspirational theme of "the Tibetan Buddhist Scriptures, where human beings, animals, and nature lived in harmony under the rule of a Tibetan", the Chinese authorities changed the name of Zhongdian County to Shangri-La County in 2001, basically to encourage tourism. The earlier names were – the Zhongdian (建塘镇 Jiàntáng Zhèn) to the Chinese, and Gyalthang (Tibetan: རྒྱལ་ཐང་རྫོང་) also known locally as 'Xianeggelila' to the Tibetans of the town which has predominantly Tibetan population.

Not sure if I'd be able to make it to Tibet I wanted to come here not just to go to Shangri-La but also to immerse myself in the local tibetan culture. From here I'd also travel north through the Tibetan parts of Sichuan in order to get a good grasp of the culture.

Coming from lovely weather on Tiger Leaping Gorge I was somewhat shocked to embrace the cold climate that Shangri-La brought. One nice highlight of my time was here seeing the Songzanlin Lamasery. (Also known as Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, Sungtseling and Guihuasi) The monastery, belonging to the Gelukpa order of Buddhism, was established by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1679. At one point they say over 2000 monks were in residence and now the number is closer to 700.

yak butter tea and some warm tibetan bread

A stupa (chorten) in town

This ornate and festive looking building is actually the city movie theatre.

walking around the local market you find lots of fresh (sort of) yak butter.

delicious! the pig on the far right had sort of a human look to it. I just kept staring it in the eye and was waiting for it to blink.

a view of the meat market

yak heads, hearts, and stomach

yak back and cuts of meat.

doing some butchering

and then making out a bit. hey, a yak has needs too

a special and rare all white yak. I snuck the picture as they wanted us to pay to see their cruel slavery of the gorgeous animal.

we snuck into the monastery as they wanted an exorbitant amount of yuan to see it. it took about 2 hours to figure out how to get in and i fell in this muddy area and got my feet soaked

View of Songzanlin, Shangri-La's Tibetan Buddhist monastery. This is the largest one in Yunnan


The housing of Songzanlin, these are monks and their families housing.

we found a closed off room and were able to get in and look around.

wall drawings

wall paintings

The lake in front of Songzanlin and a stupa on an island in the lake.

yak meat hotpot. it was delicious!

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