Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jog

I set out to find wild elephants. That was my big idea. I pitched the story that way. I left on the plane with only that in mind.

I got much more.

In a couple months, the article about my trip to the Yunnan Province in southern China will run in EnRoute Magazine. I don’t want to give anything away. But let me quickly hit a few of the highlights.

We started in Lijiang, in the long cool shadow of Jade Dragon Snowy Mountain, holy peak of the Naxi people. Yulong, as it’s locally known, has never been climbed to its summit, though legend has it that many star-crossed young lovers have lept together to their deaths from its cliffs, diving into the third kingdom to gain acceptance for the love forbidden them in this world.

In Lijiang there are roof cats, who draw wealth and fortune into their mouths.

Sculptures of cats on the roof

There’s gorgeous food:

Delicious food on the table

And then there are these, which are marble and expensive, or I might have taken some home.

Marbled pigs foot

From Lijiang we moved on to Shangrila, where a Tibetan woman named Sanam showed us around. She brought us to the Songzanlin Lamastery.

The Songzanlin Lamastery

To the market.

The market place

She took us to the house of friends of hers, who sat us down around the blackened stove and gave us fresh yak’s milk cheese, yak butter tea and tsampa.

Sitting down for tea

We sat in their living room under amazing carvings.

Intricately carved walls

We said goodbye to Sanam and travelled down into Xishuangbanna. We went to the Mekong, where a woman with a pink umbrella sang by the shoreline.

On the edge of the water

We went up the river, past a large pagoda on the far shore.

A large pagoda on the far shore

We went into the jungle.


We saw gibbons and hiked past tea terraces.

Light shining through the tree tops

Later, in town, we ate 1,000 year old eggs and roast chicken at a restaurant where they played MahJong for what appeared to be large amounts of money.

1,000 year old eggs and roast chicken for dinner

And the elephants. Did I see any?

The whole story runs in EnRoute early next year. Let’s just say for now that it ended up being bigger than the animal, that story.

Bigger, and weirdly better, than I could have expected.

Elephant in the trees