Self Belief is Everything

All words and pictures copyright Alastair Rose 2011

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hong Kong Days

I am now once again busy with work back in Hong Kong, living on the beautiful lamma island and trying to fit some days of climbing and fun into my work schedule. Work over the last couple of weeks has been a shock to the system working with groups as young as 8 year olds and trying to remember how to get around the Hong Kong public transport system. I have managed a few days climbing which has been great as the pain in my ribs is now almost totally gone.
James staring at the crux on the fourth pitch of "Gweilo" (6a or 5.10b) a classic multi pitch on Lion Rock.

A work photo - Col and Juillian teaching absieling at Shek O. The weather has been a mixed bag with some amazingly hot days (around 30degrees C) and others like this that feel a little more like Scotland.
The view from the base of Lion Rock back towards the Kowloon peninsular
James coming up the 3rd pitch of Gweilo.
Me looking pleased with myself on the top of Lion Rock, taken by James after finishing Gwielo.
Unknown climber on something hard at Lion Rock, looking east towards the New Territories and Sai Kung
The morning ferry ride into Central from Lamma island. This journey never really gets boring.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hanging with the King and Shanghai Sideways

After the first school program in Lijiang, Asia Pacific Adventure decided it was cheaper to keep myself and another staff member, Lisa in China rather than have us fly back and forth. This meant 12 days of expenses paid tourism while not having to look after any teenagers! We spent the first few days in the beautiful town of Dali and then headed to "Shangri-LA" to see another staff member Kevin and help him out on a trip to his lodge in the small tibetan village of Nidzhu. Kevin is known locally as "The King of Shangri-La" after various television companies made documentaries about him and his wife Lynne raising thier family in a remote chinese town. Being around Kevin is never boring (he cant read this as Blogspot is blocked in China, so I can write what I want) and he had arranged to take a group from "Shanghai Sideways" up to his lodge. The lodge is normally 4 hours of rough driving away and Lisa and I agreed to go along to help with the food for the 14 motorcycle and sidecar riders. Shanghai Sideways was shooting a promotional movie as well as some photos for their website so it was great to hang out in the support jeep with Kevin and even take a turn in the sidecar (hopefully even appearing in their promo movie!).
The sidecars lined up on the road to Nidzhu. These are 1950s BMW sidecars (or chinese equivalents).
Shopping for groceries with Kevin before meeting the folks from "Sideways". I thought the shopping for vegetables was crazy until we went to the meat counter. Its no wonder that all the staff at APA got Guardia the week before when we saw how food is bought!
Huge bags of Chili on sale. My system slowly got used to the heat in the food.
Street in the old town of Shangri-La near Kevin and Lynnes house.
Another huge meal. Basically all I have done for the last month is eat. This was a meal with 4 different types of Yak (all of which were cooked with Chili) with Kevin and Lynne (far right) and some of their friends. (Photo taken by Lisa)
My favourite - Jiaozi ((jow-zha) or chinese dumplings in the uk/pot stickers in the usa.) all racked up ready for another massive breakfast.Lisa chilling in the back of Kevins Jeep as we wait again for the sidecars.
Hanging out of Kevins Jeep following the sidecars (note the tibetan mastif barking at the bike going past it!) as we pass a buddhist Stupa.

Interestingly there is a Stupa outside of Shangri-La in the middle of a roundabout. After building the roundabout they realised they had a problem as traffic is meant to travel anti clockwise around the roundabout but you are meant to travel clockwise around a Stupa. They solved this by making the inside lane of the three lane roundabout clockwise and keeping the two outside lanes anti-clockwise. Problem solved - sort of!
View downt the valley from Kevins lodge in Nidzhu. The 4 hour drive ended up taking more like 10 after a few minor breakdowns on the bikes, the second support Jeep giving up and one of the sidecars drving of the road.
Prayer flags outside the lodge.
Multi Coloured waterfall a couple of hours hike up the valley from Nidzhu. Nidzhu is in Chinas first national park which has huge hiking potential. In summer this would be an amazing place to swim and hang out for an afternoon.
video
Video shot from the Sidecar. Shortly after this I decided to get back in the Jeep with Kevin as we hit dirt roads. The next thing we knew, Simon the driver had driven off the edge and the bike was in pieces. Luckily Simon managed to jump free as the bike went over and was fine except for some scratches. The bike did not survive!

Am now back in Hong Kong for the next few weeks where it is currently cloudy and grey. Hoping for some climbing and kayaking if the weather clears up.

Check out Shanghai Sideways website - http://shanghaisideways.com/

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Just back from Yunnan, China and have a couple of different blog posts coming. I was based in Lijiang with Asia Pacific Adventure for the last month starting with ten days of work and ending with a week of work and twelve days off in-between. Work has been fun though interesting at times with stolen gear and staff getting Guardia (including myself) but always with amazing views and great food. A major part of the program in Lijiang is the hike through Tiger Leaping Gorge on the Yangtze river. This is probably one of the most beautiful commercialised hikes in the world so I thought I would start with these shots and then the next post will be about time off.
The view from Tea Horse Guest house toward Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. We stopped here for lunch on both programs.
Looking up the valley toward Quiatou.
Some students playing a game on "Inspiration Terrace" at Halfway House with JDSM in the background. This was one of the original guesthouses in the gorge and I actually stayed here when I first hiked the gorge in 2000. It had two bedrooms when I stayed there originally and now has space for 80people.
Morning light over the peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (5596m). The actual summit is much further back, the Chinese say this has not been climb but the internet disagrees with some americans claiming the first ascent in 1987 (though without a permit as it is a holy mountain)
Traditional building by the side of the trail.
Bright green right terraces in the valley below the trail.
Woman wearing traditional Naxi (Na-Shee) dress.