Saturday, January 31, 2009

China: Rock's World

I had been traveling through South and Southeast Asia in 1996 and 1997 and reading a lot of Bruce Chatwin. In What Am I Doing Here is an essay called "Rock's World" about an herbalist doctor named Dr. Ho, who lived near the village of Lijiang at the foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain--I loved this essay and I decided that China would be my next stop and that I'd use the book to lead me to him...so I flew from Chiang Mai Thailand to Kunming with a plan.
my old beat-up copy of What Am I Doing Here







I had an incredible day with Dr. Ho (here's his son as well). I rode my bike 10 miles to his little village and spent most of the morning there. He gathers all of the herbs he uses from the mountain. He asked me what ailed me but I just showed him the book and he said, "Ah..yes. I remember that man" and went inside and showed me his copy and a scrapbook of souvenir news clippings. His wife cooked us lunch and I helped him and his son work on a translation of a paper he was writing about the healing properties of garlic and onion. I remember a lot of mentions of "hot evil wind" and "cold evil wind" which I guessed was code for burping and farting. Before I left he prepared a special blend of medicine for me, ground by mortar and pestle and handed over in a paper pouch. For strength.

The essay that sparked my trip to China...
and notes from Dr. Ho on that page...





From Ho Village I took my bike a little further up the mountain to the Temple of the Tree of 1000 Camellias right at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The temple was famous for containing a very old and very sacred Camellia Tree. There was a lot of damage from the Cultural Revolution at the temple--Buddha statues with the eyes gouged out and stolen for the jewels they contained, but I met a monk who told me that during the revolution he hid and came often to water the sacred tree...it was one of the best day s of my life...

Thanks for revisiting China with me...And Happy Year of the Earth Ox...a time for good beginnings...

15 comments:

Vana said...

Deb thank you for taking us over, to revisit China with you. I believe trips are about connections, relationships one builds. I love the photographs and all the stories behind them. Have a sweet weekend my dear! You are such an inspiration to me!

P said...

What an incredible experience - such an amazing adventure.

cindy* said...

hold up...i am currently blown away by all of your accomplishments...you are awesome. and i mean it. <3

nadia said...

how wonderful deb! THANK YOU FOR CHARING THIS~
it sounds like something i would definetly do. i remember reading a book about a chinese dr. who fell in love with an english girl when he rescued her on her way to california, i had such respect for him, his kindness and chivalry.

i hope to have a similar experience, feel like going again?

High Desert Diva said...

What a marvelous post. I envy you your trip and memories.

Tartelette said...

Wow! What a great trip and experience! I love the pictures and your writing!

Maggie May said...

incredible. i love your spirit of adventure and learning!!

Aran said...

omg deb, what an amazing experience that must have been! i want to hear more!

Limonada said...

This is beautiful Deb. Wow. Lovely to solve the world's problems with you today. I posted the poem I was talking about. See you soon.

Big love,

a

Camille said...

Wow! Beautiful photos, but and even more amazing adventure. I've often wanted to travel based on a book I've read. It makes for a fulfilling trip.

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

Fascinating trip - so kind of you you to share your adventure...
this is my idea of real travel, love, love your post..:)

amy said...

thank you for sharing! i want to get on a plane right now and head off somewhere wonderful.

Melissa de la Fuente said...

wow.....what an amazing life you have had my dear. No wonder your work is so unique and beautiful....you have life experience to back it up. Thank you for sharing this with us.
xo
Melis

Gretchen said...

I enjoyed traveling to China via your beautiful pictures and stories. Truly inspiring and delightful!

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