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Jiuzhaigou is one of the most magical places on earth. I have long been a  
fan of travertine streams, but Jiuzhaigou is in a class of its own. Anyone 
who  has ever been to a Chinese restaurant has likely seen photos on the wall 
as a  representation of paradise. The waters are so crystalline yet mineral 
laden that  otherwise terrestrial plants grow underwater and rimstone grows 
before your very  eyes. 
When I went there in 1988 despite the remote location it was  already a 
major tourism destination for privileged Chinese; i.e., those high up  in the 
Communist party. 
It was my second trip to China and things had changed greatly  from the 
year before when I could go anywhere unmolested by the authorities.  There 
simply weren't any rules for Foreign Devils, and in China no one acted on  
When I returned I took a series of riverboats up the Pearl  river and 
eventually arrived in Nanning. My intention was to explore the vast  expanse of 
karst to the north but the entire area was off limits. That of course  in no 
way deterred me so I used busses and tuktuks to make my way.
My intention was to climb Daming, a tall hard  rock mountain north of 
Nanning, so that I could look down on the  endless Guangxi karst further north, 
then ultimately make my way to Du' An. 
When I got to the top of Daming I discovered a secret military  
installation and was immediately busted. The top scientists spoke some  
English. They 
were flabbergasted and could not imagine how I had gotten there  undetected. 
I was ordered to leave immediately so I said, "sure, no problem".  With that 
I simply disappeared into the forest then made my way down the north  side 
of the mountain. Poof, gone!
I arrived in Xiyanzhen (I think), a little valley town  that had never been 
visited by outsiders. After checking in to the local  rat infested hellhole 
hotel I was visited by the Mayor, the head of the  local Communist party, 
and the local People's militia, all of whom insisted that  I leave 
immediately. They refused to believe that I had come from the sky (All I  could 
do was 
to point up the mountain). I am now astounded to see that a toll  road runs 
thorough that remote valley. 
The same thing happened in Mashan, I was busted and booted  out. Nobody 
cared where I went as long as I was gone, so I headed north to Du'  An.
Du' An was bigger place and I was exhausted so I checked  into a larger 
filthy hellhole hotel reserved for communist party officials  and other 
bigwigs. I went downstairs into the cavernous restaurant and there  discovered 
big round table filled with very serious looking bigwigs. They were  utterly 
astonished to see me. 
A tall intelligent looking fellow stood up with a smile and  said in 
English, "Welcome my friend, we were just discussing you. We know all  about 
travels so I insist that you join us. I am the  regional head of the Secret 
police, this is Commander such and such, etc." Talk  about busted!
He politely informed me that I was his "guest" until I could  leave the 
following day. (In the afternoon I still managed to sneak off and  visit a 
cave!) He made it very clear that I must take a specific bus back  to Nanning. 
Under no circumstances was I to take a different bus, tuktuk, mule  cart, or 
walk, nor could I leave the bus until it arrived in Nanning. I asked if  I 
could return provided that I got permission from the secret police in 
Nanning.  He said "sure" and thought it was a very funny request. (Everyone in 
China was  terrified of the Secret police, and no one in their right mind would 
ask  them for anything!)
Still undeterred I arrived at the headquarters. Once again  they thought it 
was very funny, don't you know who we are? The answer was a flat  no, I 
couldn't go back, nor could I leave Nanning by any means other than an  
airplane. In fact I HAD to go to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, a 
city where foreigners were welcome. (Ha!)
In Chengdu all foreigners, i. e. white people, were  incarcerated in a high 
rise hotel where the party never stopped. The Chinese  considered us all to 
be subhuman savages with no regard to sex so my dreams came  true when an 
old hag suddenly opened the door and thrust in two pretty young  Canadian 
girls! They didn't care what we did as long as they knew where we  were.
Needless to say I wanted to escape but it was forbidden for a  foreigner to 
take any means of transportation out of town unless it was on a  licensed 
tour bus. I made many attempts but was refused even by tuktuk drivers  for 
the Chinese are damnably law abiding.
Eventually I gave in and signed up for a tour of the leading  edge of the 
Tibetan plateau. Many adventures occurred during which I tried to  escape the 
tour. In particular I tried to join a band of Tibetan nomads but the  nasty 
bus driver held my backpack hostage. I will never forgive myself for not  
abandoning everything and joining the Tibetans.
So it was that I arrived in Jiuzhaigou. The bus took us to the  head of the 
magnificent valley. I could not bring myself to get back on the bus  so I 
snuck off into the forest. The driver still had my pack and I was trapped  so 
he simply left me and drove down to the big hotel at the entrance of the  
valley many miles away. So it was that I had an opportunity to see the entire 
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to remember that  wonderful long ago 
In a message dated 8/9/2017 10:54:29 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
dirt...@comcast.net writes:

Earthqake in China's  Karst 
Reported variously as a  6.5 or 7.0, an earthquake near the karst lakes of 
Jiuzhaigou, on the edge of  the Tibetan Plateau in SW China. This remarkable 
karst area is similar to  Plitvice Lakes, Croatia’s National Park and World 
Heritage Site, on the other  side of the Earth. In both places the water in 
the lakes is precipitating  large rimstone dams. The dams are actually 
growing with time and the  waterfalls at the outlet of the lakes are actually 
growing taller with  time. 
At least 19 people have  been killed, more than 250 injured, and many, many 
tourists are trapped. 

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