Our Tibetan Homestay

We were welcomed into the home of Tsui Tsu and her Tibetan family for a wonderful homestay experience. The family were gracious hosts teaching us about their culture and inviting us to partake in a community rain prayer ceremony, which worked because it began to rain the next day. The home is situated beside the Napa grasslands and seasonal lake where yaks and horses graze. We toured the village, farmland, and nearby wildflower filled open spaces. We stayed here 2 nights and were fed traditional Tibetan meals. Breakfast consisted of yak butter tea, fried bread, barley balls, and yak cheese. Dinner was a Tibetan hot pot with pig skin and pig fat among other vegetables. In the evening we sang songs, talked, and did a little dancing. The students were challenged by the active rats inside the house at night and the limited bathroom facilities, which were in poor condition because Tibetans usually go outside into the forest for the bathroom. The family was also in the process of building a new home, so the students were able to see the unique nail-free architecture, mud walls, and hand carved wood work. The family had harvested, transported, carved and built the home all by themselves. They said it would take 3 more years to finish.

Baisha Town

After a local noodle soup breakfast we rented Chinese tandem bikes for an adventure to neighboring Baisha town. In Baisha we visited the local embroidery institute that teaches the new generation the art of Naxi embroidery. Lizy here is speaking to an embroidery master who has been working on this current project for more than a year.

Lijiang 2

Coulson next to his Chinese namesake: songshu 松鼠 for squirrel for his tree climbing capabilities. We had dinner at a Tibetan restaurant where we were invited to dance a traditional dance on stage with the owner and staff. Then, in the hard to see photo at the end, we joined in the nightly hour-long traditional circle dance.


Night Train

Then we took the night train to Lijiang. Due to a ticket mishap, poor John ended up being demoted to the 2nd class hard sleeper with 6 to a room while the rest of the group slept on the soft beds with 4 to a room. Despite the soft beds, almost no one slept more than 4 hours as the trip was noisy and the train jerked around a lot.

Wednesday in Kunming

Wednesday we flew to Kunming where we were met by Benson’s parents. They treated us to traditional Yunnan rice noodle soup and rose petal cakes. Benson’s parents were so sweet. Mr Cheng fed Zea her noodle soup like a daddy bird because Zea couldn’t use her chopsticks. Then they toured us around two pedestrian streets: one modern with western name brand stores and one ancient with wooden buildings and tea shops. It was so fun to meet Benson’s parents and see where Benson gets his kind demeanor and cute sense of humor.