Saturday, April 23, 2005

Absolutely Nothing

I flew into Li Jiang late at night and couldn't really see anything around me due to the lack of streetlights. I knew there was an Old City, roughly 800 years old, and a New City but knowing which was which would have to wait until I woke up the next morning. However, I wasn't quite tired enough to pack it in, so after settling in at the hostel, I wandered the cobblestone paths hoping to get a beer somewhere fun. Walking around like a lost dog, I finally headed into the Mu Zi Bar, where I soon found myself drinking with the band that had just finished playing for the night. Once again the rockstar.

However, the next day wasn't quite as much fun as the roughly 7000ft altitude change gave me quite the headache and earache having come from Chengdu. It didn't get any better and the next day I went to the hospital, which looked like any hospital in America -- about 80 years ago. I finally found a doctor who spoke some English. He said what I thought he'd say -- the cold I'd been fighting has caused the other symptoms because of the altitude and that I need to wait a few days before heading out to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which peaks just shy of 8000ft. I got some meds, and the whole visit cost roughly 21Y ($2.50). Amazing.

That night, I strolled the busy canal-laden stone streets of Old Town, full of boisterous Chinese on vacation from all over the country. Red lanterns swung from outdoor cafes, and tables of strangers sang songs together and in opposition to those on the other side of the waterway in a good-natured, beer-induced competition. It was quite the spectacle, even if I didn't understand the cheers.

But I could only enjoy it so much as I knew I was heading into the last week of my trip, and I had come all this way to hike the gorge. I would go against doctor's orders and attempt the gorge the next day with a couple other travelers I'd met here in Li Jiang. I was sure all I needed was just a little more tai chi to make everything ok.

Not exactly.


Post a Comment

<< Home