Monday, February 23, 2009

Western Sichuan 8: Danba to Tagong - Hongshi

The Red Rocks of Hongshi ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

Heading from Danba up to Tagong through Bamei you pass through a tight passage  where the road runs close to the river. All the rocks are red, not from a geological coloring but from a kind of fungus or lichen that grows on the rocks. 

Western Sichuan 7: Danba area, map and make-up

Danba area and confluence of five rivers ©Google Earth/IBM          Click to enlarge!

The Region of Danba forms a county within Ganzi Prefecture. It has a total area of 5649 sq km and a population of about 60,000 people. Danba Town itself is located in a very interesting position where five great rivers flow together, forming the mightly Dadu River which is a tributary of the Yantgse.

Danba is a transitional zone, both geographically and culturally, between two very different areas: Tibet and China. The human makeup of Danba is very complicated with at least five different, mutually unintelligible languages and several dialects spoken in a relatively small area. Situated at the southern end of a region called Gyarong, the people of Danba have historically been known to be fiercely independent, mentally belonging neither to Tibet nor China. Buddhism and pre-Buddhist Bön are the predominant religions in the area. In this area you will find about 49% Danba Tibetans and 50% Han Chinese with a remaining 1% made up of the Qiang minority of Nothern Sichuan. Although located quite close (as the crow flies) to the area of the May 12, 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, Danba and its ancient towers were purportedly relatively unaffected.

# 25 Today's picture 090223

Bodybuilder at the local gym, Xian, Shaanxi ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn