23 October 2014 (Thursday)
I woke up a bit late as my alarm clock on Xperia did not ring as it was switched off. I quickly organised myself and packed up the luggage before going down to the lobby. They were waiting for me. We left hurriedly.
After coming back from the sunrise photo shoot, we went for breakfast. Then, we returned to the hostel and checked out. We would drop Joshua at Luoshui where he would stay for another night and take the public bus back. The rest of us would join Bruce to tour the lake.
From Luoshui, we would explore the Lugu Lake region. There was no pre-determined plan on where we would go exactly and we would go where the car took us. I was hoping that we would come across traditional Mosuo villages and maybe get to visit Mosuo homes and pose with beautiful Mosuo maidens. From my gps track later on, we almost made a complete loop of the lake. Our planned departure to Lijiang was 12:00 noon.
Our intended departure time of 12:00 noon could not be met. We left Lugu Lake at only about 2:25 p.m.
While travelling back, I looked at my gps unit and I asked Bruce to take the left turn. When I realised I had not set the route, I quickly asked him to confirm with the local people. The area looked unfamiliar but the locals were telling us that the route was correct. I kept quiet as I was not sure.
The fuel level was getting low. The first group of men said the petrol station was 10 km away. We never saw the station. When we met another group of men, one said the petrol station was 30 km away. Our fuel level was down to a quarter by that time. My gps unit was not useful at that moment as the nearest town it showed was Hongqi, off the main road but Bruce said petrol stations were always along the main road. I explained that the road looked new and people might not have built new petrol stations along the main road yet. It should be in Hongqi and there would be a road intersection to Hongqi. There was no road intersection even as we passed the intersection indicated on my gps map.
Fortunately, Hagrid, using the mobile phone gps, said that there was a petrol station a kilometer down the road. He was right.
With the car on full tank, we were relieved. Yet, at the same time, we worried whether this road would lead to Lijiang. Anyway, Bruce and the rest of us felt the same way that it was safer driving on this road as it did not have so many switchbacks, sharp bends, blind corners and is less mountainous, save for the section of the road on departing from Lugu Lake. It was safer as we would be spending a big chunk of the travelling time in the dark at the later part of the journey.
We reached Lijiang car park bordering the old city at 9:55 p.m in about 7 ½ hours too, and checked into Naxi Mama Guesthouse. They left for dinner. I did not join them as I could not sleep with a full stomach.
The next day, Hagrid would be trekking on the Upper Trail of Tiger Leaping Gorge and staying there for a night, I would be going down to the gorge and returning to Lijiang in the evening, Bruce would be driving to Dali and An Ming, I was not sure.