Monday, April 10, 2006

Back to Maidi Gangga

me mk2, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

A week on Friday I will be setting off with my trusty Leica to go to the sacred mountain Muti Konka (Maidi Gangga) again. My plan is to cross the Yalong river canyon into Muli and visit the three temples that were once home to the Muli king. I have visited the restored main Muli monastery several times but have not yet seen the ruins of either Kulu or Waerdje monasteries.
My itinerary is to go Chengdu - Kangding -Jiulong - Sanyanlong - Mundon - Chang Haizi (Muti Konka) - Wadzanran pass - Maidilong - Waerdje - Muli monastery - Kulu/Kopati monasteries - Muli county town then bus to Xichang/Chengdu.

I will be updating on a daily basis when I can during my travels, but obviously there aren't many internet cafes beyond Jiulong [nor any electricity for that matter).

At the moment I'm just sorting out the kit I will be taking. My main aim is to travel light. From previous experience in travelling in Kham I have found it to be a waste of time taking tents and cooking gear, unless planning a specific trek. I invariably end up staying in the houses of local people, so this time I will just be taking a simple small sleeping bag and an emergency silver "space blanket" to keep it clean and flea-free when kipping on the floor of Tibetan houses.

My other main items will be a food bag, containing mainly crackers and packet soups (I will try get by on tsampa and roast spuds) , and a film bag containing about 70 rolls of 400 ASA film and a bit of outdated Kodachrome for some classic looking slides. The other essential item is a bag full of cheap paperbacks I bought at an Op shop for $1 each, to relieve the monotony while sitting on buses/planes for days on end.

As I'm travelling in late April I'm not expecting any harsh weather. I'll be taking a raincoat, but otherwise will just have the usual trekking gear of fleece jacket, shirt, couple of t-shirts, lightweight trekking pants and of course hiking boots.

The only difficulty I'm having is in deciding what photo and video gear to take. At the moment I'm commited to taking my two Leica cameras: a Leica R3 SLR with a Summicron 50mm lens, plus an old Leica IIIa with a wide angle (Color Skopar) 28mm lens. I am undecided as to whether to take along my Rolleflex medium format camera. It would be nice for portraits and some serious landscape work, but it weighs a lot. Likewise, I am in two minds whether to take my video camera. I have done this on previous trips, but I want to concentrate on doing one form of photography right, rather than swapping between still and movie phtography.

The other essential item I will be taking is a folder containing copies of Joseph Rock's old photographs of the area - always good for breaking the ice with the locals. Oh, and some copies of portraits I took before - to give back as gifts.

More updates, next week.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great trip Michael. How much is appropriate compensation when staying in a Tibetan home- and I assume this includes meals? Do you take any particular measures to stay healthy- bring your own bowl, or...? Do you use hand sanitizer, or iodine tablets, or just hope for the best?



mutikonka said...

I just hope for the best! All Tibetan houses have a fire and hot water - I just use that to keep clean and drink tea. Depending on circumstances I try pay the locals with something - maybe 20 kuai and some gift like balloons for their kids, photographs and coins from Australia.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Largely due to the inspiration of your photos which I first saw last year, I have arranged a trip with my daughters, 8 and 12, to go trekking with the Khampa nomads in June (with Angela Lankford, who lives in Sichuan). Not the same route, but the same inspiration! We will take a tent, but will have horses to help carry things, including us at times. We are also taking a "light pen" that quickly sterilizes water with ultra violet light. (I need to be extra careful taking kids!) But we can also stay in the nomads' yak hair tents. There will be lots of itneractions with kids. We are taking kites- balloons are a good lightweight idea.


mutikonka said...

That's great - I'm sure your daughters will have a great time. I'm planning to take my two boys there (7 and 9) when they are a little oler. They would love all the horse riding and sitting round the fire roasting potatoes.