We had a free day today and Kevin had planned a day trip from Jiaju to Moska.
Moska is an old-world sparsely populated Tibetan village high up in the mountains. The road is metaled but prone to avalanches, has several sharp and blind turns. This was the May Day weekend, extended to a week’s holiday, hence a lot of urban Chinese had driven to Jiaju and were also on a drive to Moska. This region of Kham Tibet is within the Sichuan province and close to the large city of Chengdu and can be driven within a day.
We met our new Chinese friends from dinner, and they were about waking up. They also had plans to drive to Moska but later in the day.
Drive to Moska
We started on the drive to Moska right after breakfast and could not see too many cars on the road. Pleased with ourselves for beating the traffic. Nodding our heads to music, we drove through some charming villages, houses decorated with floral blooms, lush fields and almost no vehicles.
Alas ! Traffic snarls
Soon we started hitting traffic and were held up in a spot. A group of bikers on expensive Chinese motorbikes had zoomed past earlier but now were held up in the traffic snarl beside us. We could hear Kevin marveling about the bikes, since he is also an avid biker.The mountain roads were quite narrow, any car coming in from the opposite side resulted in a traffic jam a few kilometers long on both sides.
Halt in a tiny quaint village
The drive was about 3 hours in total, but we soon realized that there was no way we could reach Moska village. About 3 to 4 kilometers before Moska, we reached another tiny Tibetan village beside the gurgling river and decided to halt there. There was a detour road to drive down to the village and we drove in, parked our vehicle and were looking at the ever-increasing traffic jam from the river banks.
An unexpected lunch
It was about lunch time and Kevin was getting anxious to get some lunch for us. Luckily, an old Tibetan man with a large mansion and a mangy dog opened his doors to us. He said that he also ran a homestay and were expecting guests in the evening. He had prepared yak meat stew with potatoes and baos and served us. Kevin got some cups for us and we also had some hot green tea and felt refreshed with it.
Post lunch, we explored the village on foot. We did get to see Himalayan marmot up close who had dug burrows in the mountainside. Then we did see the White-capped Redstart and Snow Pigeon.
Return to Jiaju
After an hour of strolling in the village, we decided to return to Jiaju and try to beat the traffic. We also saw an accident right at one of the blind turns, but the return journey was quite uneventful. We saw the recovery vehicle ambling its way up in the valleys. The police had by then halted all traffic trying to drive uphill and there was a long queue of vehicles in the valley.
The bikers had also made their way down and we met them in one of the rain water filled culverts. We reached Jiaju village by tea time; our friends from dinner told us that they could not even start for Moska since the authorities had already halted traffic by then.The lady of the house had prepared another delicious dinner and we had another merry evening with Kevin translating away. We retired to bed, after another eventful day in China happy with the day’s journey.