Ya’an was one of the first rural cities we stayed in after leaving Chengdu on our tandem to ride across Tibetan Sichuan. Luchan, a harder hit town is just to the north. The cities on a fertile rising plain that soon gives way to steep foothills leading to the Tibetan Plateau.
As each week passes word comes of another self-emulation in Tibetan lands of China. Many are young monks, and more and more are women. The grief they must feel for the slow loss of their culture is unimaginable to me. In our tandem travels across Tibet, we saw the government’s attempts at subjugating the Tibetan culture by smothering their lands with emigrants from the Han majority:
Some times a variety of events make trains the best choice for long distance cyclists. We no longer have anything to prove by riding every inch of the way across the U.S., or around and across other countries, continents. Been there, done that. We are now travelers, who happen to believe bicycle is the best way to see the world. However, there are other transportation methods that have a place in our hearts. Some of best experiences have been traveling by train.
Talk about a mystery. Where does a Tibetan kid in remote Litang get a set of wax vampire fangs? I mean, I had these things 60 years ago in West Virginia. Watching him play vampire to a couple of rarely seen Westerners brought back my childhood. I can remember what the teeth tasted like after I chewed them into a ball of wax. Fun is universal, it crosses culture and time.