Dege Kham

The Mekong river
The Mekong river

Shoshan festival

The breakfast is painstakingly prepared with Chambar, salted tea and yak butter, yak cheese, mingled in a cup with bare hands.

Long before the sun rises we are up. Behind the mountains it begins to dawn, we are engulfed by the beauty of the morning.
The night had been noisy, with Tibetan rodents  rummaging overhead in the double wooden ceiling, sleeping was difficult. Where we sleep, kitchen, hall and bedroom in one, the typical Tibetan house.
Throughout the night I held a flashlight to spot the noisy little creatures who were after the Chambar.

Hospitality of Tibetan people has no equivalent, we are honored guests in their house, and dare not to refuse their persuasive welcome.

Red, hand-painted Tibetan furniture all around us, wooden tables, an open kitchen furnace, we sit on our bed eating and drinking salted Lapsang, planning for the day.

We soon will ascend to the mountains staying overnight , where wolves and bears still roam freely. As a result, every Tibetan - male and female - carries a dagger , richly decorated with Silver and gemstones, according to his or her social standing.

Tibetan school

A car takes us to the Tibetan Primary school where Mr. Chen's wife is teaching, an idyllic location 30 miles outside the city of Dege.

We visit the school, its basic facilities and see only smiling, curious faces.

Horses were called in the day before to carry me to the mountain, an almost impossible thought to bear. The means of communication is by word to mouth, as no transport other than by foot or horse can reach to this remote parts in 4000 m altitude.ege

We visit the school, its basic facilities and see only smiling, friendly faces filled with curiosity.

We start our ascent at 0900 AM and the breathtaking beauty of the valley immediately takes me into a trance. My guide's steps are fast, it is difficult to follow pace, I grasp for air in such high altitude.

Alpine meadows on our way, tall yellow and purple cowslips along the trails. These meadows make me remember my own heritage. So similar is the vegetation here, I almost forget I am 8000 Miles from home in a far away location.

Our trail is steep, the first plateau reached we stare at the mountains around us, the valley below, fields of rye in golden yellow.

The main route to Chamdo and to Lhasa, a 5 days journey from here by car. So vast are the distances here, one needs to shut down his sensing of time entirely for the duration of this journey. Time has no meaning, we are only temporary on this Earth.. Tibetan wisdom comes in many shapes.

Tibetan Monks

Two and half hour ride on horseback till she reaches her mountain home.

Astonishing endurance, strength, people here are robust like no other. I encounter the first Edelweiss on my trip, it makes me forget the strain on my body, for too long I was out of practice since leaving my home country.

Recalling my Military training - again - Hauptmann Lukesch. 50 Miles we trecked in Alpine regions, I think back and realize time has passed so quickly...

Here in this region I find a variety of plants, wild fruits, gooseberries, wild strawberries, raspberries in deep red growing nearby. Reminding me of my youth and the Alpine world I grew up with, where we would roam in the meadows after school, using the mountains as a playground.

Once again I reflect on my early days; appearing with every step I climb these trails, the visions clear as the Tibetan spring water gushing out hear and there.
We zigzag along the rocky paths, it takes all my strength for its steepness. The higher we reach the more spectacular the views, the more you feel yourself free.
Only a mountaineer can understand this feeling, perhaps I felt a similar sensation the night I found myself in Beyla, Guinea.
The serpentine paths become more steep, walking dangerously close near to cliffs I realize I made a good choice not to move on horseback. Not being a good rider it would have been too risky, a reckless idea I contemplate.
Well into the afternoon, long overdue we reach the first house on a long stretch of green, rye growing area up in this altitude of 4000 meters.

We set off at 2000 meters, the ascent was exhausting. It takes full 8 hours to reach the foots of the summit. Here in the mountains everyone knows each other, so our arrival had been heralded, and we are invited to the first dwelling we see.
Sitting in the dark kitchen with only basic amenities, the lady of the house and her grandson invites me with the same hospitality I am so used to since coming to these parts. All I take is some fresh mountain spring water, trying hard to recover from the climb.

Mountain stream

Dege town

Tibetan Edelweiss


Mekong riverbetween Laos and Myanmar
Heinz Rainer Mekong

Excerpt from MEKONG

It is still dark, when he steers the boat into midstream. Gigantic in size, the Mekong lies ahead of us, some 800 km north, our destination.

Slowly, the boat picks up speed, shivering under the mighty force of the two Engines.

Once again, like so many times before, I begin to drift away, imagining this world beside the river, people living in simple straw-covered huts, just like in Africa. How I ended up in this corner of the world?

Fate, destiny, Karma, don't know what brought me here. My Airasia flight was to take me to Macau, but the Bangkok demonstrations made the change to my itinerary.