Today is our second last day in Shangri-La. We declined Li’s offer to drive us to the Baishui Tableland 白水台located 90km away, a smaller version of Turkey’s Pamakkule. Having been wowed at Turkey, we didn’t think we’d be impressed by it, and also we did not really fancy a long distant journey with Li and the stench in her taxi.
I had a late night last night, as I watched a Korean movie DVD till after midnight. We had wanted to watch James Hilton’s Lost Horizon but the resort did not have this title. I had bought this movie from the bookshop yesterday for only Y9.95. Unfortunately this was the only Korean movie they had. After the show, in the quiet of the night, the villa suddenly appeared rather eerie, with all the heavy draperies hanging around. The room was very dim, and I remembered this used to be someone’s old house. Mike was already snoring away and I really did not like going downstairs to the toilet alone. I tried calling Mike but he did not even stir (either that or he pretended not to hear me and ignore my call.) I crept slowly down the cold stairwell, pass the spa room, and pushed aside the drape leading to the bathroom, the size of which is exactly the size of our hall upstairs. I turned on the all the lights, rush to complete my tasks in the shortest possible time, and almost scared myself silly from my reflections in the twin mirrors. Then I quickly turned off all the lights and rushed upstairs. The black velvet curtain which had looked very posh in the day was like a prop on a scary movie set as it casted a shadow from the light on the stairwell.
Needless to say, I got up late and we went for brunch at noon, saving some money from having to eat lunch.
Mike wanted to walk and we decided to go the the three stupas at the top of the hill behind our resort. These were built by the resort and we were told to offer the white Tibetan silk called Daka there. We trudged up the slope, passed two unfinished villas with timbers stored inside(economic crisis!), through a pine forest and reached the stupas. Mike took some macro.
Mike wanted another walk to the meadow but I was reluctant, as I wanted to finish my book. I had brought three books, and had yet to finish even one. We remembered the Tibetan robes hanging in the wardrobe and decided to play dress up in our villa. That was fun.
That done, I made tea, took my book and went to sit on the 摇椅rocking chair at the balcony. In front was the spectacular view of distant mountains and meadows. I remembered the song lyrics from my favourite song 最浪漫的事:
留到以后 坐着摇椅 慢慢聊
It was heavenly.
Incidentally, the book i had just happened to be reading, Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym, was the modern classic written in 1940s just after the war. Pym was described as the modern Jane Austen at that time. In it, drinking tea in the afternoon and taking walks in the English countryside was what the characters in the book often did, and so the mood and setting at Shangri-la was just perfect for reading it.
At 4pm, We decided to embark on our walk (ala my book) to the meadow at the back of the resort, which David had told us about yesterday. On the way, we met the old man from yeaterday and his group of friends resting by the roadside. He recognised us and said, " From Singapore, right?"
On good thing about walking in the countryside is that as long as you don’t deviate from the dirt road, you’d not get lost. So even without a map, we confidently striked ahead, passing grazing yaks and sheep (and their poo), (and noted the two bald sheep among the rest), negotiated a few streams and came upon a lovely empty meadow. I ran across and burst into a song The hills are alive, with the sound of music…for the scenery did remind me of how Maria ran up the field while singing this song in the opening scene of The Sound of Music. In the far right, we heard a yak moo-ed in reply.
Dinner at the restaurant that night was grilled Yak ribeye and lamp chops. We had the rack of lamb ribs 手捉羊the night before and it was delicious. I think all the food that we had consumed during our time here was all organic and free-range. The vegetables we ate were especially sweet and delicious even when lightly steamed or stir fried.
There were going to be 24 groups checking out the next morning and we decided to settle our bill after dinner. Erlia was at the counter and she introduced us to Mama, the resort’s Tibetan English guide and mama to the staff.
It was difficult, and I said 34, Mike said 27. Erlia clapped her hands in glee and told us that Mama is already 47 and a grandmother. She had married and given birth at 16.
We bade everyone there, David and Kathy included, farewell and walked back to our Villa, up along the winding path which we’ve done so for the last four nights.