Pinch of Tibet


When I picture a beautiful view in my mind it is some amazing valley or mountain range stretching for miles and I know it’s somewhere around 4 thousand meters above sea level. So the most spectacular views are associated for me with high altitudes but it is not exactly accurate. I learned it after having a motorbike trip in Muli region in southern Sichuan. 

The expedition (big word for a few day trip) happened in quite a rush. And that’s because of long distances, demanding terrain to ride a bike and very limited time. So there were a hurry and fatigue but also the feeling of freedom (here you can hum Easy Rider theme) and unreal landscapes. The weather was amazing, very unlikely to appear in October in Poland (where I’m from), skies in deep blue, monumental mountains and river in the color of saturated turquoise made happiness levels going up. Scenery sometimes like a fairy tale, sometimes rough bestudded with Tibetan villages or rather randomly scattered houses.

I heard someone calling this region the ‘true Tibet’ ,which I suppose means relatively long time of resisting outside influence. And well, traits of former isolation are easily noticeable even now. Not only in relations between the ‘outside world’ but within Muli itself. There is a place in Muli region in which some villages are so remote that each one uses different dialect while all of them are situated in the same valley. Like mentioned above, distances are significant and are covered by always winding roads. We practically don’t have time to explore villages and examine the culture closely. Honestly though, it seems that there is only a pinch of it left. Except a few exceptions remembering times of the Cultural Revolution, hardly anyone manifests their ethnic distinctiveness. Traditional architecture I saw, mainly can be spotted in scarce monasteries. Turbulent times from 60 years ago and current so called progress definitely contributed to this state but I must mention that I saw barely a piece of Muli. Therefore what I wrote above is just a handful of basic information. History and complexity of this region is more complicated than just few paragraphs.

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