Sunday, January 29, 2012

Some New Challenges; Do You Know Shangri-la in China?

For most of the ATCs I did, I would do a duplicate one to keep, but for the current Birthday fabric ATC swap, it doesn't make sense to do an exact duplicate. Thus, when I chance upon The Linen Shelf's ATC Challenge to create 1 ATC a month based on the calendar months, I think I have found the solution! With the same tatted peacock motif I did for Tahlia, I sewed up this January 2012 ATC for myself, dedicated to Tahlia, whose birthday falls in January. February ATC is almost done too!

I abstain myself from taking up more new swaps partly to participate in StitchMap's current Colour Theory course and a challenge to do a set of stitcher's travel bag and accessories. As this is the first time I join in such their challenge, I am not too sure what to expect. Part 1 was to sew a bag. I use tatted flowers for the front, and try my hand with my "new" sewing machine. I was so nervous, the sewing was not going too straight, my seam was more than required, I unpicked and re-sewed some portions. Finally, here's the bag! There is no closure, but with a lining - my first-ever machine-sewn bag!!!

And all my flowers I tatted so far for the Colour Theory course Lesson 3 and for the Stitcher's Travel Bag. Tatting these flowers is addicitive!

These long-awaited inchies are finally here! Bees, Fall and Halloween inchies from Debbie H. (USA). Love the way Debbie arranged them on a card - neat!

More on my China trip: On Day 4 (9 Dec), we left Lijiang for Zhongdian (中甸). Zhongdian is the name of both a huge county and the town that is its capital. It forms one of three counties that make up the Diqen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern most Yunnan. The place was re-named in 2001 to Shangri-la (香格里拉), after the fictional land of Shangri-La in the 1933 James Hilton's novel "Lost Horizon", in an effort to promote tourism in the area. (I did find a copy of the book in a bookstore in the old town.)

Mountains and farms were common sights.

Halfway to Shangri-la, about 100 km northwest of Lijiang Old Town lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山) and Haba Snow Mountain (哈巴雪山), we stopped by the Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡). A contender for the world's deepest river canyon, it is not considered navigable, but is one of the best hiking trail in Lijiang. We didn't hike, but like most tourists, reached the uppermost section by vehicle. Even then, it was no mean feat to climb the numerous steps - it was super cold with the strong wind when climbing down during winter, and out-of-breathe for us when climbing up!

The gorge stretches about 15 kilometers. Naturally divided into three sections, the first section, which is the narrowest and uppermost section, is the mouth of the fast flowing Jingsha River. In the midst of the river's mouth is a large rock that is positioned at the gorge's narrowest section-only 30 meters wide. According to an ancient legend, a tiger used this rock as its stepping stone so it could leap across from one side of the gorge to the other in order to escape from a hunter, which is how the gorge got its name.

Can you spot the stone tiger in the middle of the photo?

As the river enters the middle section, it drops another 100 meters and its flow rate increases to an amazing speed. The third and lowest section is steepest and most dangerous. Here, the river twists and turns and the river vigorously surges forward creating high waves and a frothy spew as it collides with the mountainsides. This is a view that inspires a sense of adventure and satisfies the deepest yearnings for magnificent scenery.

We had lunch at this restaurant, you can see all the vegetables they had on the shelf in the kitchen. The cupboard on the right stored all the sterilised crockery.

At the entrance, hawkers were peddling their goods, foodstuff most of the times.

It was a very bumpy journey to Shangri-la, a good part of it on narrow winding roads around hilly regions. Took a total of about 4 hours on the road from Lijiang to Shangri-la. We just couldn't keep awake in the car!

We were almost there, the architecture and motifs on building were distinctive.

The above was part of a huge school compound, comprising elementary, secondary, high school, etc, all in one place.

The photo below was a musuem for Tibetan knives.

We had reached - Shangri-la!

And our hotel - JiLaiDeng Star-Kevel Hotel!
That's the car (on the right) and our driver for the last few days.

It was coldest here, mainly because of the high altitude of 3,200m. We barely could walk on the street, we had to drag ourselves out to look for dinner. Found a cosy little "western" restaurant. The food was pretty good, especially the pizza! There were local Tibetan dishes too, but my folks aren't too adventurous!
Things we don't see in Singapore.

So nice and cosy to be near the coal burner. Reminded me of the Chinese proverb 雪中送炭 translated as "Sending coal in winter", meaning giving help when needed!


Maureen said...

This is wonderful!! - what stunning scenery, the gorge looks so rugged, doesn't it? - almost reminds me of New Zealand, but much colder, I think.
I love your tatted flowers!

Jewels said...

Thank you for stopping at my blog and commenting on my January ATC. You do such lovely work and I enjoyed your pictures of your trip (personally I do not like heights so I would have had a problem climbing those steps, LOL). Yes I hope to do the same theme every month using the vintage papers I have - look forward to seeing yours! Jewels

BadPenny said...

Your January ATC is delightful. I'm so glad you joined in ! Your little bag is so beautiful.
Wonderful photographs from your trip and so interesting to read about it. The Hotel looks amazing !

tattrldy said...

Your ATC looks marvelous - love the peacock! Good job on the small bag.
I love the pictures of your trip. Wow, that gorge looks awesome! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us.

Carla said...

I love your tatting. I'm all thumbs so I don't I'd succeed in tatting. ;o) The pictures of the gorge were beautiful.

Shari said...

I enjoyed looking at your blog and learning more about your country. I am so happy you joined Stitchmap and are taking part in our challenges and classes. Your first bag is wonderful. I know your accessories will be just as nice...Keep up the good work -Shari

Joanna said...

Lovely ATC - they are such beautiful colours! Reading about your trip was really interesting, and those photos are stunning!

Singtatter said...

Hello, Maureen! I have not been to New Zealand, it's one place I hope to visit.