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MY TURN | COVID – Shangrila

CHINESE maps before did not have Shangrila. When their economy boomed in the 1980’s, roads, bridges and airports were built all over especially in the mountain regions of Schiquan, Yunman and Tibet.

China was overwhelmed by questions about Shangrila. Everyone agreed it was somewhere in Szichuan, Yunnan and Tibet regions but where exactly? In the 1990’s, towns in the Regions like Lijang, Dequin, Daocheng, Lingu, Yuhu, Litang claimed to be it. In 1997 the Yunnan town of Zhangdian said it was the place and named its airport Shangrila. In 2002 the Chinese government officially changed the town’s name from Zhengdian to Xiangelila, pinyin Mandarin for Shangrila.

Some say the bhala mea name is from the Tibetan word Shambhala meaning gentle sanctuary. Others say it refers to Shang meaning mountain. and Pila meaning pass. In the 1940’s it became part of world culture.

In 1942, 16 B-25’s led by Colonel Dolittle bombed Tokyo. When asked where the planes came from, the US President said “Shangrila”. The US navy named one of its big aircraft carriers “Shangrila”.

During the 60’s anti-Vietnam war protests, the lettermen’s song “Shangrila” echoed the dream for a tender peaceful soft place. In the 60’s, Malaysian billionaire Robert Kwok built Asia’s biggest Luxury Hotel Chain called Shangrila Hotel Corp. His hotel, the most popular in Shangrila, is naturally named Shangrila.

The Zhongdian tourist office showed the number of tourists: 1995, 4,336 tourists, in 2000, one million, and in 2018, eight million. All the world’s hotel chains are there plus hundreds of medium, micro hotels, Inns, Lodges, Posadas, etc.

Six Chinese cities have daily flights to Shangrila, Beijing, Shanghai, Kunning, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
Mindanaoans can get 30 days visas from the Chinese Consulate in Matina, near World Palace Resort.

However, if your passport has a Taiwan Visa stamp, you’ll not get a VISA.

Reading the middle chapters, you seem to be blissfully meandering along with smiling people in a valley filled with fragrant blooming flowers, tiny hopping chirping birds, singing fresh flowing streams, hundreds of fluttering butterflies with unbelievable colors, sweet smelling gently swaying trees, pleasant cool breezes.

Western tourists who have been to Xiangelila before the lockdown agree on some points.

The air is crispy, nippy 7-24; your brain, lung, body become exhilaratingly super charged because you are 11,000 feet above sea level.

From afar, you can see the pristine snow capped mountains which seem to reach the sky.

At night there is the Clair de Lune, the blinking flickering millions of stars, zipping, rocket like shooting meteorites, all crowding the blue lack sky that seem bigger and brighter, so near that you can almost touch them.

After seeing the Songzanlin Monastery, one of China’s biggest and oldest and after mingling with tourists, pilgrims, buddhist and Taoist monks, you begin to slow down.

Then you begin to think this is where I will find what I am looking for. Slowly you feel there is a new dimension added to your body and soul which has been badly mauled and completely ripped apart by COVID 19.

Something changed; new hope, new outlook, new, new you.

Meantime, use your computer, cellphone, internet, etc to connect to the 2 Lost Horizon films in Youtube, the book in the E-library, Hilton, Xianggelila, travel agencies and hotels in Wikipedia.

Wait for 2021. then go! go! go!

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