[Travel] Jiuzhaigou, Tibetan Culture

After seeing the Giant Panda and Sichuan Opera the day before, we wake up very early, around 5:00 AM today for our trip for Jiuzhaigou. We meet with the other Chinese tourists and ride on tour bus for the the 12+ hour trip. It’s going to be a long day. Honestly, I spend much of the time sleeping in the bus. The scenic is mostly gorgeous, but since the tour is in Chinese and I can’t understand where we are most of the time, I catch me some le zzz.

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Street food near the meeting point. Looks like egg-cake with everything in it.

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 Frozen river on the way from the bus window. Beautiful color.

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Songpan (松潘) walled city. We only transit here unfortunately.

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Frozen pond in front of the west wall

Tibetan (བོད་པ,藏族) stores from dried meat to metal and silver

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A nearby village. Beautiful winter day.

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Rest area with beautiful view of the winter and mountain

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Next we have a stop over again at Jiuzhai Paradise, Jarpo villas (九寨天堂·甲蕃古城), unfortunately most of the places are close since we’re off season after all. The entire made-ancient-villas have the Tibetan (བོད་པ,藏族) flare in it.

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Next we visit a modern looking Tibetan (བོད་པ,藏族) village. See their custom and culture from my previous post Shanghai Museum part 1: Minority Ethnic Groups of China.

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Tibetan (བོད་པ,藏族) is one of the ethnic group in China. Most of the people live in Tibet Autonomous Region in China. They also live in mountainous area of the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture (རྔ་བ་བོད་རིགས་དང་ཆང་རིགས་རང་སྐྱོང་ཁུལ, 阿坝藏族羌族自治州), Sichuan Province.

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We are given yellow scarf or khata (ཁ་བཏགས,哈达) from the hosts, then we walk and spin the prayer wheel.

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They burn several trees branches for the visitors, a welcoming ceremony for safe passage to the mountain. Then we wash our hands for cleansing and touch the stone in front of the hall. This is for tourist attraction by the way. Because they have a photographer ready to take our picture.

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Butter tea, po cha/cha süma (བོད་ཇ་/ཇ་སྲུབ་མ་, Tibetan tea or churned tea), in Chinese sūyóu chá (酥油茶). It’s too saturated for me. Maybe because they thought tourists won’t like a thick butter tea. Butter tea is made from tea leaves, yak butter or cow milk, water, and salt.

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Our hosts, the ladies in the village

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Steam Yak meat. Quite… hard, unlike cows’ meat. We eat it with Sichuan peppercorn and steam potatoes.

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The man sing for our entertainment

They show us a ‘marriage’ ceremony custom of the people.

In Tibetan (བོད་པ,藏族) ethnic group practice polyandry, means in arrange marriage, a woman may marry the male sibling(s) to keep the money, land and whatever owned in the family, but not many practice this anymore and the young generation can choose their own significant other. 

After dinner we dance around the fire in Tibetan (བོད་པ,藏族) dance with our hosts leading the dance. Then we ride the bus again to another town for dinner and to spend the night there. I wish we can spend the night in the Tibetan village though. 

Next day: Jiuzhaigou, Colors of Nature in Winter

Sichuan trip: 

Source information: Songpan City, Sichuan Tourist website

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