Archives for the month of: February, 2005

I celebrated the Tibetan and Lunar New Year with the local residents of Yubeng, a mountain hamlet nestled among the scenic Meili alps of northwestern Yunnan and a stone’s throw from Tibet. It is a hard days Imagetrek away from the nearest road and neither accessible by car nor cell phone compatible – a bane and benefit to the people of this village, who share a rare sense of trust and compassion for life and companionship so distinct from the growing metropolis of my lifetime. I have neverImageseen men laugh with such galore nor children as assiduous and considerate as those in Yubeng. And when a neighbor dispatched word over a yellow Motorola walkie-talkie that someone required medical care at 2 AM on the morning of the New Year, all thirty local men set out on foot to carry the ailing to the capital of the county and over the snow-covered mountain isolating this village from hospital services.

The New Year’s festivities were a legacy of tradition and the past best described in pictures – houses adorned in colorful paper amulets with homemade adhesive, dough treats fried by hand in heaped layers at apparent random or purposely unfolded like the petals of a flower, spirited bow-and-arrow contests for the treasured white Hada scarf, Imageone of the most venerable items in Tibetan culture, and prized bushy fur hats and costumes with resplendent trimming. A steady stream ofImage salty yak butter tea and coarse alcohol was readily on-hand to moisten dehydrated palettes and rejuvenate spirits exhausted from reveling in song and dance throughout the night before welcoming the dawn of a new day.Image

Events took an unexpected turn after I departed Yubeng 10 days later in midst snowstorm via a spectacular gorge along the infant turquoise swells of an early Mekong River tributary. In fact, I had the experience of a lifetime when days of bad weather wreaked mudslides, fallen boulders, and the worst snowfall in local memory throughout northwestern Yunnan. Instead, the images below tell a different story, not of Yubeng or the immeasurable beauty of its surrounding landscape, but capturing some of my past memories and reflections – experiences for which I am immensely grateful, including from Tibet, Gansu, and Yunnan.



Potala Palace

Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, TibetA dark, small, and toasty enclave for practicing Buddhists and a stray New Yorker, reveling in the warmth of a thousand candles.

Lvchun, Honghe, Yunnan
Morning market vendors and shoppers in a Hani ethnic area just north of the Vietnamese border.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces, Honghe, Yunnan

Countless pools of water to grow rice in cultivated over centuries by ethnic Hani farmers cascade alongside the slopes of the mountainous Yunnan countryside.

Tianshui, Gansu, China

Maiji Mountain Grottoes, a legacy of the Northern Wei dynasty ca. the 5th century.

Tianshui, Gansu, China

Perpetually distracted by the mundane over the supposedly impressive Ming architecture captivating the interest of specialists and colleagues inside.