The fairy country – Part 1 : JiuZhaiGou

From Chengdu we head into the Himalaya mountain ranges… We greet the
Great Lord Himalaya with joy and pleasure. Highlands have always been
one of our favourites.
We’ll explore a part of the Tibetan Plateau, also called the ‘roof of
the world’, during the following weeks.

The next couple of days we plan to visit mother natures wonders in the
fairy valleys… These wonders are located in the JiuZhai, HuangLong
and MuNiGou Valleys. Crystal clear waters, cobalt blue lakes and
waterfalls situated in beautiful forests.
From Chengdu we drive straight to JiuZhaiGou village. Upon arrival we
feel more in a ski resort in the French Alps, instead as in China. The
roads in this part of China are all from excellent quality! They are
even better than their European counterparts… Big hotels, lots of
restaurants, a hyper modern infrastructure and lots of tourists. The
prices in the place are as expected sky high!

Next morning we walk to the park entrance and head into the world (or
Chinese) famous JiuZhaiGou NP, along with thousands of other people…
Imagine the mass on a sunny summer day at the entire Belgian coast,
multiply this amount of people by 2 and you have an idea about the
crowd we face today! (On exactly the same area – we have 50 km of
coastline, the valley 50 km’s of roads)
I always wonder how Zen could be invented in China.
In the beginning this is hard to endure, but after a while we get the
rhythm, are seduced by the beauty of the surrounding nature and we can
avoid the crowds… Chinese people have one habit, they almost always
follow the crowds. In behaviour like this you feel the years of
suppression and obedience being drilled in! The park mostly has a
couple of pathways to follow, we take opposite directions of the
crowds to the same spots and yeah, soon people vanish for a while.
The tour buses bring us to all important spots of the place, since
every walking path longer than 1.5 km is closed. The entrance ticket
into the valley is valuable for only one day, so buses are our only
option to cover the distances.

Luckily the natures beauty is stunning!
The long lake, the jade lake, panda lake, mirror and pearl lake, tiger
lake,… These are some of the 114 lakes in the park. Many of these
deep blue and green coloured pools, are linked with numerous
waterfalls. The roar of the water is even able to overpower the noise
of the crowd… Unbelievable! The water flows from a height of 3000m
downhill till it reaches around 2000m before it leaves the park.
We enjoy watching waterfalls, laugh with the funny habits of Chinese
people, are portretted numerous times (knowingly and unknowingly) and
try numerous ways of photographing the stunning colours of the lakes!
That day we experience every kind of weather – rain, sunshine, clouds,
blue skies,… – and they unfold a tiny bit of the natural beauty
locked away behind the nature park borders!

A funny anecdote, when we ask someone to take a picture from us with
our camera, a crowd of cameras immediately appears out of nothing
around ours and we are photographed a dozen times.
Or people ask us if they can be photographed with us… Especially my
hair and height fascinate them enormous. Most of the Chineses just
reach to my shoulder. Our pictures are perhaps already published a
dozen times on the internet or I don’t know where…
Chinese people are really fond of posing! At every viewpoint there are
numerous people being photographed, they even get nervous when we
spend some 2 minutes at the same spot, adjusting our camera and trying
a couple of options. When parents ask their little ones to pose this
way or another, they immediately do so, with pleasure.

That day we also discover the creation tale of the valley…
Long, long ago a beautiful Goddess received a mirror from a God. A
demon passed by and fell in love with the beauty of the Goddess. He
tried to seduce her with friendly words and acts, but she refused him!
He grew so angry with her, that he took the mirror and scattered it
into the valley. Each of the 114 pieces of the mirror created one of
these stunning lakes.