Monday, May 5, 2014

Xichang wasn't as remote as we thought!

We went to Xichang! What a wonderful time! We thought we were headed to a tiny little village with nothing there, but turns out it was so fun and charming and met so many nice people. It was awesome. Click -->here<-- to see it on the map!

Since it was the Labor Day holiday last week we all went to go hang together. I think I have mentioned in one of my previous posts how crazy travel during holidays are in China, but I would just like to reemphasize this via a brief anecdote: there were so many people in line that me and vicki missed our train! We got to the station about an hour yearly, like normal, but we just couldn't fight our way to the front of the line to get our tickets in time. We were so upset! There were literally lines like I have never seen at the train station, and those lines are ordinarily plenty long! You live and learn: next time we will make sure to be early on a holiday. We hopped the next train in the evening.

So we left around 7pm, and arrived in Xichang at about 3am. We got the "hard bed" so I could sleep most the way there.  Xichang is located in Sichuan province in southwestern China, in the Liangshan Yi Tribe Autonomous reigon. Liangshang means "cool mountain" in Chinese. As you walk around, you can see people in traditional dress, and doing traditional rituals. My friend +Shayn Stephens explained to us that there are many social problems in Liangshan: drug use and crime like robbery is unfortunately widespread. She told us to be careful not to step on needles when we were walking on an unpaved road. She said some of these problems come from the resentment of the Yi people towards the Han Chinese for their takeover, and that they feel like their disobedience is almost a form of payback for their hardships. I'm not sure what the initial situation was when they took over, but I can imagine that it wasn't pretty.

Anyways, most crime occurs after dark, so we just took care to make it back to the hotel in a timely manner. We ate Xichang style BBQ, went to the ancient city, bartered at the street market, and saw a traditional ritual performed by a shaman! We met Shayn's coworkers, celebrated Jacob's birthday with cake, played majiang, and made it back to our overnight train on time! Vicki, Shayn and I had girl talk until late into the night, and (tried) to help Jacob on his online jazz test. Overall, it was just fantastic.

Take a look at all the fun we had: