Monday June 18
After a fitful sleep of 12 hours—I don’t know how that happened when I set my alarm for 6am— I awoke with a start to bright sunshine, loud Chinese voices blaring down the hallway, and a painfully endemic and sunburned body. My fingers and face are swollen, and the tissue around my eyes is so filled with fluid, it looks like tumorous sacs were implanted above and below my eyeballs in the night. I knew I was dehydrated, when a headache came on inn the late afternoon, toward the end of our hike, that would not stop; it grew more painful as I went to bed despite the liter of fluids I forced down. I think a combination of the altitude, sunburn, and not drinking enough—oh, and not eating enough have been my downfall. The exact same happened in Lijiang after a day of walking in hot sunshine and not eating frequently. Lesson learned twice. Drink more, eat more, and get some sunscreen! I drank a liter while we were out, but it was not enough. I should have paid attention to the fact that I didn’t need to pee all day. When we returned, the dark yellow brown indicated that definitely, I was dehydrated. Making it up does not work! I write this to warn all of you! The temperature was mild and slightly chilly all day, which made my thirst lessen in comparison to a sweaty-hot day, when I would drink more consistently. But the first thing I noticed this morning was swollen fingers; I could feel the swelling in my eyes without even looking in the mirror.
I remained in my room for a few hours, missed chatting with the Brits, but finally emerged from my room slightly less swollen. I declined NuWi’s offer to go visit another grassland area; I need to take it very easy and keep it low key today. I couldn’t decide where to go first, but I took a new route I discovered on Zhilam’s map, and it took me down the back alleys and through narrow neighborhood sidewalks, to the street across from Anju si Monastery. When I walked south to the Tibetan Traditional Medicine Museum, it was closed because of the holiday. Since it wasn’t meal time, I sat in Himalayan coffee again for a while, and enjoyed a cappuccino (35yuan) and a slice of cake (25yuan), before walking across town, north to the bus station. I found new shopping areas, where I purchased some yak jerky in a local store (rather than a tourist spot), and walked along the river until I came to the bus station. Again, I had to ignore all the taxi hawkers, man, they are obnoxious even though I know they are trying to make a living too. I love seeing all the darker skin tones of the Tibetans (and possibly other ethnic tribes) that create the confluence of culture here in Kangding. They have such beautiful skin; it’s not the falsified death-mask white that the Han Chinese revere so much. The Bus Terminal turns out to be for travel between cities, not to the airport, and I am directed (after 10 minutes of back and forth with my translator app) to a local hotel from which the airport bus departs and arrives. After learning that the airport bus leaves in the morning at 0930, I head back to town, and end up on another street full of tourist shops, but farther from the main area, so offering more local items too, like shoes and clothes. I really wanted to buy a stuffed toy yak. The jewelry and prayer beads are something else too, with their exquisite detail, high quality, and beautiful design. I haven’t been in the mood to shop and buy a bunch of stuff, even though I really want to buy all of the necklaces and rings and wrist cuffs; I’ll buy next time. The altitude and sun must have really taken it out of me for me to have little desire to buy!
I’m finally hungry and head back to the Tibetan restaurant I had located the day of my arrival: Tashi Yongdeng Tibetan Bar. The food is exquisite! I start off with small pot of butter tea, which turns out to seem large with 4+ cups of butter tea—I can’t even finish after devouring only half my dinner! I ordered a pastry pie filled with vegetables (Google said sauerkraut, but that’s not correct). My second dish is a mix of mildly flavored, chewy fungi (mushrooms) and spring onions, contrasted with seriously hot red and green peppers! The food I have at the hotel and here is amazing! It is such a nice break from oil-laden Sichuan food!
My dinner at the Tibetan Restaurant was only 75yuan for two dishes and a small pot of butter tea. That’s $11.70USD!