Wednesday, November 04, 2009

From the Archive: High Road to Yu Shu

From the Archive: High Road to Yu Shu

Sunshine lights up the Tibetan Plateau
Canon EOS 1D-MkIIn | 1/800s | f/4.0 | 70-200mm lens @ 121mm

In August of 2007 I found myself with 8 other photographers on a bus from the city of Xining to the village of Yu Shu in Southwestern China. Unlike public buses I have traveled in countless other locales, this was a sleeper bus, containing micro-beds instead of seats. They probably work great for 5'4" Chinese people, but were slightly less than ideal for this 6'3" American. 15 hours of smoke-infested, body odored, gravel roads and car sickness were rewarded with spectacular views of one of the remotest areas on earth. I would not trade that bus ride for a first class airline ticket.

I rode up front with the bus driver for much of the time. He chain smoked and chatted to me most amiably. Too bad I didn't speak Tibetan. Smiles and nods were all he needed as he was just pleased that this insane American was so taken by the beauty of his countryside. I soon realized that I was not the insane one as I watched this man careen in-control up and down the sides of mountains on "roads" fit for pack-mules. Perhaps it was the nicotine (or something stronger!) or his magical driving gloves that gave him courage. Whatever it was, we arrived safe and sound and even much earlier than I expected.

Thanks to my insane driver, a myriad of road crews, and an awesome God for this photo of a high plateau in the Tibetan mountains. I don't rightly know where it is, but the plain is approximately 12,000 feet above sea level and the mountains in the 16k to 18k range.

Anyone up for another trip to China?


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Unknown said...

such fond memories . . . ok, so selective memories are fond :-)

Sarah Bradshaw said...

I'm up for a trip to China any day.

Joy Lyn Photography said...

Those roads were INSANE. I was just telling someone about that ride the other day. Definitely up for another trip to China :)

Mich - selective memories. HAHAHAHA!!!!

Philip said...

Love the pix Rowan!!

Maria said...

WHOA. That image is insane!

Do students ever go on these trips?