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Litang...Are They The Worlds Last Cowboys?

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day to you Ok, back to the BITCH at the ticket off in Xiangcheng. As she couldn't be bothered selling tickets the day before making us miss our bus we decided to move on to Litang instead. We knew there was a bus at 6amish. The alarm woke me at 5:00am after three hours sleep. Hey, I wanted to watch Spiderman II (it was in English). We headed across to the station and sat waiting with a group of Chinese until the bus driver unlocked the gate. Several foreigners arrived, only some had tickets onwards.

We all waited and waited and waited for the BITCH to arrive. In the end a group of Chinese went to her house and dragged her out of bed. She arrived with a scowl on her face. NOT HAPPY JAN! (Aussies will understand the Jan thing). We all headed into the ticket office with only several Chinese before us. Of course they began pushing in until I put my arms out and began yelling at them including several F this and F thats. The BITCH looked right through us and continued to sell tickets to the Chinese until only the foreigners were left. Then it all became too hard for her even with us speaking in Chinese. Finally we got our tickets and boarded the bus to Litang.

The ride there was just beautiful. We went up and down and around huge mountains, through lush green valleys completely filled with huge rocks on each side and a river in the middle. Totally awesome! Then we began climbing and climbing and climbing. In the end my worries about climbing 2000 meters in less than half a day were in vain. At 4680 meters I strangely felt no effects at all. Several of the foreigners we met in Xiangcheng had to leave rather quickly due to bad headaches. Judy felt a slight headache after arriving but I actually felt great.

ACCOMMODATION: Around 12:30pm after travelling the longest straight we'd driven on in several days we arrived in Litang. Litang is pretty small really. Not much to do, not much to see, pretty much a town to kick back and relax in if that's what you want to do. We checked out a couple of places to stay. One is directly across from the bus station called the International Hotel or something. Tiny rooms, a bit dirty but at 40 Yuan for a double and a shower not so bad. It has a toilet INSIDE and the shower OUTSIDE.

We moved on to the Crane Hostel which is a left from the bus station. Bad move really. Though the rooms are clean the toilets are FREAKING STINKING AND FILTHY. There are so many flies that you are scared to pull your pants back up incase you have a thousand or so in there. Even the one inside toilet is a stinkin cesspit that is never cleaned. The shower floor are covered in dirt and my shower had no water pressure at all so it took about 30 minutes just to wash the soup off. Oh yeah, don't expect a receipt after payment as you won't get one and there is a 5 Yuan deposit for the key.

There was one more option that was supposed to be better than the above two. If you leave the bus station and turn right there is a big Tibetan looking building with a sign out front saying '***&&^ Guesthouse'. Sorry, can't remember the name but we didn't see it until we were on the bus out. We did meet a guy staying there who was pretty happy.

It seems the guesthouses are the only places in town that have showers even if they have no water pressure. Whilst walking around town we looked at several hotels, all had no running showers. Strangely some had the shower installed but it didn't work so you had to wash from the small basin. Strange considering they wanted around 100 Yuan for a room.

The town itself is pretty cool and easy to get around.

We decided to head to the monestary for a look. On the way is the 'old town'. Just awesome. Kids are great and the old men and women will smile and wave at you. As you near the monestary you come across a production type line for the monestary. It begins with copper sheets being polished by young children in Yak do do and then washed and then polished again. The sheets are then made into Buddhist icons to be sold.

The monestary (Chode Gompa) itself is being totally rebuilt into a horrid 'thing' like in Zhongdian. Huge glass windows create an image of an Administration Building. It's all no where near finished and not worth a visit at all at this stage except to see the wood carvers at the front gate. All the paintings, finished or half finished are the same as those in Xiangcheng.

Needless to say, we left quickly and headed to see the huge new Chorten Thingamabob (Qudenggabu). At the entrance gathered several young kids whom tried to take what ever you had in your hands from you. Inside was the huge Chorten thingamabob with many smaller ones all surrounded by prayer wheels. A constant line of Tibetan women continually circled them chanting this and thats to whomever it is they chant to. Here we met a nice French guy with a lisp. His English was pretty bad but made harder to understand with his lisp. He seemed to be a real nice genuine type of guy so i didn't hold it against him...har har! We chatted and took photos and all tried to comprehend the reasons why the women spent hours going around in circles and then left to immerse ourselves in the streets of Litang.

Litang, what can I say, it's kind of like a wacked out movie set for a Chinese, oops, sorry Tibetan western movie. You have hundreds and hundreds of Tibetans all with motor bikes and cowboy hats. Their motor bikes are their pride and joy. They are full of tassels and covered in colourful skins. Others have flowers, streamers, stickers...in fact, anything that is bright and colourful. Some, believe it or not actually have SUB WOOFERS strapped to the back and awesome speakers at the bikes front. It's kind of like being in Carlton's Lygon Street or Prahrans Chapple Street in Melbourne Victoria. BOOM BOOM BOOM, DOOF DOOF DOOF!

DRINKS: If you want a cold drink, FORGET IT. No one has a fridge! If you want to phone someone, almost forget it, unlike most of China there isn't a fridge with a phone on it in every single shop you walk past.

OVERSEAS PHONE CALLS: For international calls walk past the Crane Hostel until you come to a China Post Box/Stall thing. If that is closed keep walking until you get to the intersection and across the road is a tiny IP Shop with four phones. You'll have to buy a 30 Yuan Card to make a call though. So be quick!

FOOD: For food, any little eatery is pretty much the same. Remember if you don't like your food hot, ask for BOO LARJIO (not chilli!). If you want Western Food...FORGET IT. The next best thing is an English Menu. Just down from the Crane Hostel towards the bus station is an eatery owned by Mr Zhung or Zheng. He loves his store more than anyone. He supposedly learnt English from a second hand phrase book and he is a fun and very happy guy. He's full of info if you need it.

All in all, the town was nice but for me to spend anymore than a day or two (stretching it) would be a tad too much. We headed to the bus station and grabbed tickets out for the following morning. That night I sat with a few guys from various parts of the earth and we chatted into the early morning. Surprisingly one remembered meeting me from somewhere. It took us all afternoon and evening until we figured out where we had meet. He began telling a story of when he was in Jinghong in the Xishuanbanna and getting lost....I finished it off by saying 'on the other side of the Mekong River trying to find your way back to Jinghong from Galanba'. We met at the Dai Cafe just up from the Mekong Cafe.

Life is but a trip in China! Beers N Noodles to ya...shane

Litang Town & Monastery Walk

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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