Sunday, November 27, 2016

Then and Now: Mekong 1928 and 2016

Today I was browsing  Joseph Rock's article "Through the Great River Trenches of Asia" when I came across a photo of a view that looked familiar from my most recent trip down the Mekong. In the National Geographic he has captioned the picture as "The Mekong river entering a narrow gorge near Yangtza". I checked my photos from my bus trip down from Deqin to Chaliding on the Mekong, and sure enough, one of the pics that I snapped from the bus window matches the one that Rock took.


When I took the photo it was about half an hour down the road from Deqin, just after the bus goes through a new tunnel.
I was on my way to check out the new road that is being built to connect the Mekong and Nujiang valleys, which starts at Chaliding and goes over to Dimaluo. Chaliding is little more than a bridge over the river with a couple of stores. It is a landmark because it is the embarkation point for Tibetan pilgrims setting off to walk the Kawakarpo Kora - the 10 days circuit of the holy mountains. This is the place where they do their last minute shopping for supplies before they start walking. It's all uphill from here!
And just for your information, the road over the mountain is not yet open, despite the official blue road sign indicating a turnoff to Gongshan. I tried without success to get a van or even a motorbike to take me over to the Nujing, but the locals said there were several sections of the road that were just clay and mud - meaning they needed to get off and push. They wouldn't take me. The Mekong-Nujiang road is said to open in early 2017.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

De-Gong Road, about 100 km, is a short pass which connects Nu River and Mekong River. It's really hard to maintain this road, just read a news today, road workers around Peacock high pass rescued from heavy snow.Hopefully it wiil be finnished before summer 2017.

Skagen

Michael Woodhead said...

Thanks Skagen. I thought this road would be open by now - it looks that way on Google Earth, but as you can read, I found that local people said it was not passable in Oct 2016.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

Yes, it.s decided by season/weather, read this http://qq.mafengwo.cn/travels/info.php?id=6527384, they conquered De-Gong in late November 2016 by a common 9-seat vechile, interesting.

And your photo reminds me of a man named Bob Wesley, who had worked in Yunnan for TNC between 2000-2006:
http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/illinois/newsroom/the-nature-conservancy-in-illinois-meet-the-experts-bob-moseley.xml

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bob-moseley-71117141

He's also a fan of JFR, and took comparing photos, and published:
https://www.amazon.com/Revisiting-Shangri-Chinese-Robert-Moseley/dp/7508521730

Maybe you can also publish one in the future.

Skagen