Pieter Neele's Blog

Category: China - eng

A festival and market trip in Yunnan

Lahu in Mengka celebrating their New Year. Kachin from Myanmar crossing the border to Ruili for a festival of the Jingpo: different name, same ethnic group. Aini at Lancang market. Limi Yi with their spectacular dress, living isolated in Wumulong. Encounters with Wa, Dai, Bulang....

2014 Preview

  Hi to all!   Wishing you a happy and healthy new year. My plans?   Awaiting publication of an article I wrote for Japanese Alpine News , detailing why I believe the new Mekong source I discovered last July together with Luciano Lepre has to be...

A new Mekong source - the true one at last?

I started out with the tempting thought we were the first to visit both the Jifu and the Guosongmucha source. I wrote that all of the expeditions to the headwaters concentrated on one source, and one only (blog post of August 12). But re-reading publications on the search for the Mekong...

Mekong expedition - July 15 and after

We drive to Zaduo, then Yushu, then Serxu where we rest in the monastery guesthouse, do laundry, eat well, watch photos, make notes. Then to Garze from where we go our own ways. Last month at the bus station of Kangding I saw there is a direct bus to Xichang along a route that I don’t...

Mekong expedition - July 14

The source of the Mekong at the Zaxiqiwa plain, revered by indigenous Tibetan nomads, that I described at my visit last year as one the purest places on earth.

Mekong expedition - July 13

All this week I don’t think of my mother, brother, sister. Not of my father. Not of lovers past and present. Not of friends. Not of   Bach or Rush. Not of favorite books. Not of sports results. Not of   health worries that I am prone to. Not of upcoming trips. I think of...

Mekong expedition - July 12

We walk. We follow the Gaodepu and aim for its head below Mount Jifu: the source of the Mekong. We make our way through a wetland, finding our footing on hummocks. It isn’t difficult, just tiring after a while.   Further up the ground becomes more solid, consisting of...

Mekong expedition - July 11

Not a day as planned. We pass a small group of picnicking Tibetan nomads. They have bought provisions in Zaduo and are on their way to their grazing lands in the valley of the Gaodepu. That is the longest source river of the Zayaqu, and so of the Mekong. Where the Gaodepu originates, the...

Mekong expedition - July 10

We bump along the atrocious 'road' that leads out of Zaduo. When not holding on to my seat or the door handle I do things that are just about impossible - making notes, eating bread and cheese, sending a text message as long as we are still within range of Zaduo's mobile signal. On the...

Mekong expedition - July 9

It's an uncomfortable ride from Yushu to Zaduo. Bumpy and slow, made so by road works. The accompanying encampments and installations are an eyesore on the grasslands. Two high passes are still beautiful but a tunnel is being dug underneath one of them. Closer to Zaduo the Mekong, swift...

Mekong expedition - July 8

3.00 pm At Xining airport to change planes. 51 hours and counting. Waiting for check-in in the departure hall, waiting to board in the waiting hall, waiting for luggage after the flight was canceled, waiting for a room in the hotel across the parking lot, waiting nèxt day in the...

The Mekong sources reached

On July 12, 2013, together with Swiss Luciano Lepre, I reached the source of the Mekong at the foot of the glacier of Jifu Mountain, in the emptiest parts of China's Qinghai province. The next day we also visited the source at Guosongmucha Mountain, still favored by some as the Mekong's...

To the source of the Mekong - Three

There are a few nomad tents at the egde of the Zaxiqiwa plain. They were the first people we’d seen in 80 kilometers, and the last I will see in the next 50. They have a small motorcycle. I have one day left. I see an opportunity to get to the Mekong source at the foot of Jifu Mountain,...

To the source of the Mekong - Two

We set out from Zaduo again, it’s three days later. Only driver Renqing comes with us this time. He grew up in the Zaxiqiwa area, and he speaks Chinese though Tibetan is his mother tongue. So no need for a guide or interpreter. He shows little mercy for his Chinese built pick-up truck....

To the source of the Mekong - One

The car fills with the whispered Tibetan prayers of the man from Zaduo. I have asked him to join, none of us knows the way. The first high mountain pass draws oohs and aahs for its beauty. But we don’t pause, focused as we are on our aim: the Mekong’s source at Zaxiqiwa....
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