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You must see “The Governor” – Mushypea

You must see “The Governor”


I just met with Xuan Ke again, the larger than life character from Lijiang who was instrumental in the name change of Zhongdian to Shangri-La back in the late 1990s after reading a copy of Lost Horizon by James Hilton.  Xuan is half Tibetan and half Naxi (pronounced Na-Khi) and is something of a local hero among the Chinese, especially in Yunnan Province.  Famed for being outspoken on the issues facing the ethnic minority Naxi, Xuan has travelled the world with his Naxi Orchestra which is based in the Old City of Lijiang.

I was in my element sifting through old & rare National Geographic magazines from the day when Xuan’s father was a translator for Joseph Rock back in the 1920s and 1930s.  His father also assisted General Stillwell in the translations needed for the Stillwell Road project in Burma (more on that later) and knew Peter Goullart, the Russian Toaist Doctor who recounts his time in Lijiang in his book, Forbidden Kingdom.  The book is a great read, taking the reader back to how market life would have been like back in the day and gives a very different view of life in Lijiang than the one portrayed by Rock.

Where to next?

Xuan gave me a lead in Zhongdian, a Government official who I must visit.  The official may have some information on the movements of Shambhala teachings from the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) through to Yunnan in and around what is now the known as “Shangri-La”.  I’ll be leaving north for the small village of Baisha tomorrow morning and visiting Joseph Rock’s old “National Geographic Headquarters”.  From here I’ll head north on a little used track (again, Google Maps shows only the first 60km of 180km) to Tiger Leaping Gorge (and work out how to get across with my bike!) before climbing in to Zhongdian and finally seeing the real “Shangri-La” for myself!

Can’t wait!

7 Responses to “You must see “The Governor””

  1. happysheep says:

    Joseph Rock lived in Yuhu village, further on from Baisha (about 30 mins by bike).
    There is a small museum in the village.

    Xuan Ke suggested Zhongdian might be the Shangri-la referred to in the book, but later said that Lijiang also has some elements (canals, windy cobblestone lanes, the Jade Snow Dragon mountain, etc) of the real Shangri-la.

    Getting from Lijiang to Shangri-la involves crossing the Yangtse river at some point. Good luck.

    There’s more info about the area at

  2. brian schiff says:


    still following every new episode and glad to see all going well. Photos look amazing! you will have quite a story to tell I’m sure

    Good Luck Mate

  3. Woodsy & Bindi says:

    Hi Dave

    Great to see and read what you are up too!
    We hope you kept smiling and living the adventure.

    By the way your photos are just getting better. Must be the camera!!

    Take care
    We are proud of you.

    Woodsy & Bindi.
    Currently located in Tassie.

  4. christine says:

    Looking awesome Dave!!! Photos are amazing!

    Keep travelling safe and having fun!

  5. Danoss says:

    Go Dave!!!

    Fantastic images mate been following the blogs and the journey. Stay safe chief and keep up the good work – epic!

  6. mushypea says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments, sorry I can’t reply too quickly but they’re all really appreciated. Yeah Woodsy, the camera is the bomb – took some getting used to but we are definitely bonding now! Thanks Chris, Dan & Spliff for your comments. Dean, if there’s one thing the Chinese do very well, it’s not wasting stuff! I have never seen so much recycling – amazing. Adam, hope the leg gets better soon, am sure Chris McCandless found his own Shambhala in the end.

  7. Rox says:

    Hi! met you once in syd years ago! I so appreciate the way you have been discovering China—my motherland! I’ll keep following your journey!

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