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On the Trail of Edwin Dingle - Part I

This is the travel story of Iva. Iva is from Australia, as one of our customers she made her way to China this summer to follow Edwin J. Dingle's footsteps. Dingle, a British journalist, made his way up the Yangtze River and then walked from Chongqing via Yunnan to Burma in 1909 upon which he published his famous book Across China on Foot. Iva is on the road now for over 2 months already and walked over 1000 km! Currently she's on the way in Yunnan to the Burmese border where her trip will end. 

Iva’s plan was and is to follow Dingle's route as precisely as possible. After the Yangtse River Cruise from Yichang to Chongqing, she started to walk. While many areas have of course changed beyond recognition, some villages and rural regions resemble the over 100 year old descriptions in the book. Old, hard-to-walk roads and highways, construction sites with dust and dirt, high temperature as well as rain, language barriers and a backpack weighing over 30 pounds didn't make this advanture easy but when she came to our office the other day, happy having reached Kunming, she smiled, proud of this very unique experience.


She allowed us to publish some of her daily records and picutres from along the road in our blog. Today: diary from mid to end of May.


May 13th:

The start of the adventure. Edwin Dingle left Chongqing through the west gate. Lianglukou Station was my west gate. Hiked about 15 km to Bishan through the mountains and the rain! But wonderful lush green forest and agricultural land.



May 16th:

Short day today....about 12km to Yongchuan. Walked along a country road thru lovely scenery. Virtually no cars, people going about their business, ducks quacking, crickets chirping. Passed thru Dongziwan village. The village and connecting 5 foot wide flagstone path could be so like where Dingle passed.


May 20th:

Surprising day. In Lishizhen, my usual time and about 5km out I was beeped and it was the aunt of Anna. Anna's family owns the hotel I was staying in. I ended up getting a lift to Zhaoyazhen, which was my next destination. So not much walking (even Dingle rode a pony for a period of time). Left me time to explore Xin Xi ancient city and walk down the hill along an old flagstone path to the Yangtze River.



May 24th:

A non-moment day yesterday. Dingle took a boat from Luzhou to Yibin. I took the modern day bus from Luzhou to Jiang'an. Pleased that I did as most of trip was through the crowded cities. The road the bus took from Naxi was parallel to the Yangtze River. In Jiang'an I walked up to the top of Nan Ping Mountain. Beautiful forest. Large cemetery cut into the mountain with terraces of headstones to the top. Piles of Yangtze River stones which would be great in my garden. Today took a country road on my way to Shuiqingzhen. Lots of bamboo forest, rice fields and delicious plums being sold along the road. Passed through the village of Shi Tao San which had a very nice canopy of trees over the road.


May 27th:

Shu'nan Zhuhai (bamboo forest) about 70 km SE of Yibin. Awesome.


May 28th:

A very urban day today. No countryside at all. Followed the peaceful path along the northern shore of the Jinsha River and met a lovely couple riding their bikes. Conversation was limited but we were still able to communicate. Walked through Tianchi Park complete with flowering lotus. Remainder of my 16 km day along the highway, but there was a sidewalk so it made walking easy. To Shuifu and Yunnan Province tomorrow. Looking forward to the mountains.


May 29th:

Passed through lush forest about 8km east of Shuifu following road Q91 along the south shore of the Jinsha River. Birds, blue and black butterflies, crickets, water tumbling down rocks.... all sounds of the forest. Shuifu very industrial given the large dam being built.  Walked 23 km and reached an elevation of 648m. Mountainous country. Garlic field reminded me of The Garlic Ballads by Mo Wan. I was resting and the elder took great interest in my camera.


May 31st:

Walked along road S325 which runs along the expressway and train tracks and the Hengjiang River. But amazingly quiet with little traffic and noise. Heading south took me into a narrow valley with a steep drop into the river.  Large stands of bamboo and thick vegetation. Lots of ginger grown here. I was invited into the government office for a cup of tea and a smartphone chat. Thank goodness for translation apps! I am staying in a small village not far from my destination as there were rehearsals for the upcoming festival. And as I have noodles everday, it was fitting to see them being dried.


To be continued...


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On the Trail of Edwin Dingle - Part II

On the Trail of Edwin Dingle - Part 3

On the Trail of Edwin Dingle - Part 4