Sunday, January 25, 2009
On the road to Qiunatong (秋那桶)
After a rather dull day in Bingzhongluo, I set off down the track to the Nu river in good spirits, whistling Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye. It was good to be walking at last, rather than sitting on planes, buses and trains. I had spent the previous evening sat in the one and only bar in Bingzhongluo, chatting to a sound recordist called Jez from Durham, who said he had come to the Nujiang to try record the sounds of silence. He wasn't having much luck, as the truck horns and chainsaws in the Nujiang were interrupting his silences. I advised him to try New Zealand instead - very good for silence there, I can tell you. With no one else to talk to in town it was good to have a bit of company.
The next morning I rose early-ish and I walked down to the level of the Nu river, past the Chongding Catholic church and towards the huge granite or limestone gorge now known as Shimenguan (Stone Portal). The weather wasn't as good as last year, and I didn't bother taking many pictures under the gloomy overcast skies, but just plodded on though the gorge, with the road to myself. Passed by a couple of small hamlets and had a scary encounter with an aggressive dog at the bridge over the river. But otherwise I had a fairly uneventful day as I walked along the river - passing through one village (Nidadang?) which had its own small Catholic church (and a nice friendly old woman).
It was midday when I had stopped to eat my lunch of crackers, pistachios and an apple by the river, and then a long haul up a gravel track to the right of the main road up to the wooden log cabins of Qiunatong.