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Beverly Hills Galleries

Story with English subtitled

2010 Galleries Shows

Parkhurst Galleries

Wentworth Galleries

Sketches Series

"Surmounting the Chola Mountain Of Life"
Page 3 of 4

Click on the controller next button above to view all the original sketches

And they told me there were bandits in an area called Song Lin Kou as well. Yon Cha said that before the New Year he took his team to ship some medical equipment and they must pass Song Lin Kou at night. They had to borrow a police car with the sirens on to drive through the place.

I didn't want to give up, I must go to Dege and I believe that there must be a way to be there.

After I left Seda, it snowed everywhere, making the driving very difficult. When I arrived at Wongda again, the climate was getting better. I hoped that I could get to Dege around eight o'clock. I heard that every day at 4pm the road toward Chola mountain would be closed at a check point, therefore, I must pass through the check point before 4pm.

On the way I phoned Living Buddha Ji Mei, the head of Dege Scripture Printing House, who was in Beijing. I asked him about the road condition, and he told me "it's not that bad, the snow wasn't too heavy" and asked me if I have driven on icy roads before. I told him I had and then he asked what kinds of car I was driving, "A Cherokee," I replied. He then said that it shouldn't be any problem and told me to look for Director Chen at the Dege Printing House.

That afternoon before 4pm I pasted the check point of the Chola Mountian. The snow became heavier. My car starting to slip around on the road. After Sidaoban, the winding road became like the spine of the koi fish with the center high up and the sides lower dwon. When climbing on such a fish spine, wheels slipped from left to right and right to leftÐ and when I tried to step on the brake the car almost went off of the cliff. Luckily there were gravels on the side of the road that were not yet covered completely by the snow. They stopped the car from slipping too far. But the road was frozen, so I couldn't stop the car either. If I tried, the car would slide backward. Thus I had to move forward, but if I drive forward, the tires slipped back and forth, as if floating above the cliff. Over the cliff the mountain went straight down, it made me dizzy if I took a quick look. Dearth awaited me if I fall. At the moment I so wished that the tires could grow teeth that would bite into the ground.

A big car drove by me, it was a local. His car was dancing on the road left and right yet smoothly. His driving skill made me jealous. I wanted to drive like him, but my leg started to cramp. It certainly was not something one could learn by watching, just like one couldn't learn how to fly on ice by watching a figure skater dancing inside the ring. What even worse was that right here it wouldn't allow you to fall and get up again. If you fall you would lose your life. With hard struggles I finally drove through the fish spine. I tried my best to drive along the mountain farther away from the cliff, thinking that I'd be safer that way.

Suddenly I heard a popping noise. My car immediately went to the side of the road and stopped. I jumped out of the car, checking, and saw a tire popped. I was eager to move forward so I got the car jack out and began to change tire. Wind was blowing very strongly to the point that I could hardly stand still. I was not far from the top of the mountain that is sixteen thousand feet above sea level. It was very cold and the snow was very deep. I use all my strength to turn the car jack but the car didn't seem to move a bit. It was almost five o'clock and I must get out of the place quick before it turns dark, because in the mountains with such attitude, temperatures between day time and night time are very different. Once the sun goes down it would be even harder to drive through the icy mountain. I continued to turn the jack with all my strength but nothing moved, it was too heavy! When I looked at the car jack carefully I saw that the jack was already twisted.

The jack was broken, and I brought the spare tire to measure, I notice that the car was still about twenty millimeter lower than the spare tire. I thought if I dig a hole under the tire I might be able to change the tire. I tried to remove the ice with rocks. About an hour I only dug a hole as small as the size of my fingernail. I suddenly found that even the back tire was popped as well. This was the end of it, I thought. The car wouldn't move at all. The place was about over fifty miles from Dege and a dozen miles from Mani Gange behind us. I felt that I was totally exhausted. My throat was dry and I was short of breath. I felt I was floatingÐ It was not like in the U.S. you just call 911 for help when you run into trouble. My only hope was to call my friend who is the deputy governor of Ganzi district. When I was connected, I told him I was at Chola Mountain and two of my tires popped, I was really running out of options and needed his help. He asked where I was and told me not to move. I then told him that I couldn't move even if I wanted to. He said he would call people form Mani Gange to help me, and the phone got cut off before I said thanks. I couldn't make any phone calls anymore. I found out afterward that the phone tower there is run by solar energy, therefore once the sun is down, cell phones are disabled.

Now I had no options but wait. It was dark and in the winter of the high mountains, the sun was like fire, once it was gone it got very cold. I was standing outside in the beginning but it got too cold that I needed to get into the car. The sky became totally dark. Stars were very bright in this place and they felt like they were beneath me. I stared at the stars and thought they were headlights from cars, but the lights never moved.

I waited and waited, no care appeared. In the place sixteen thousand feet above sea level, breathing became more and more difficult. What's even worse was that I used too much energy to try to change the tire so I became more and more tired. At about nine o'clock I could hardly breath, no matter how I positioned my bodyÐ opening the window didn't help either. It was like someone was choking my throat. At about midnight, I felt like my head was being poke by numerous needles, eyes were all red and ready to pop outÐ I couldn't breath in, neither could I breath out of air. I could sense that my entire body was breaking up. Originally I thought that since I lived in Tibet for seven years I could cross over the Chola Mountain without problem, I didn't except such result. Every minute became a struggle, and I felt that my skull was ready to explode.

Suddenly a light from the top of the mountain appeared. I didn't know what it was at first so I stuck my head out of the window to look. Cliffs under the reflected light were like beasts ready to attack me. At this time I saw the light approaching from the cliffs. It was a car coming from the mountain. After a few seconds of excitement I start to doubt that if it was coming for me, because my people should have come from down the mountain. I looked at the light, it seemed to come toward me but soon disappeared again. I was excited yet doubtful. It was twelve forty then. The car driver saw me and slowed down. I quickly turned on my headlights. I had worried that my car would slip down hill, so I already used rocks to block the tires. I thought they stopped because of these rocks. But the driver stuck his head out of the window: "Which tire popped?" he asked. I said "Two." I thought that maybe he just asked and would leave, so I asked him if he had a car jack. Unexpectedly he said, "we are coming from the district to help you to get down the mountain." I was in disbelief when I heard it. I was so grateful that I was completely speechless. I had never thought of them coming form the other side of the mountain while waiting in despair. I quickly got off the car, I was too dizzy that I could hardly stand still, and three people came off their car and helped me changing the tires. I was so thankful to my friends and to these people. In this icy world and in the middle of nowhere, they were reaching out their hands to me that made me feel a deepest warmth from my heart. They pulled an old style car jack out and quickly lift my car. I took out the twist jack of mine and really wanted to curse the manufacturer that made such a piece of junk.

At first they thought that they could just patch up the tires and we could drive again. But it turned out that the cuts were too long that it was impossible to patch. But their spare tires wouldn't fit my car. So they recommend that I leave the car here for now. I have too many personal belongs in the car so I was not sure if that was a good idea. A young guy named Nima said, "you don't have to worry about it, I will drive it." They turned the car around as easily as Indians driving a snowmobiles, and drove to Sidaoban to drop the car there, and then drove me back to Mani Gange. It was already four in the morning when we arrived. I was dizzy during the whole ride. They told me that they don't have my kind of tires in both Mani Gange and Dege, maybe we could give Ganzi a try. Mani Gange is a very quiet little town, I could only hear dog barkÐand it was dark. It was said to be a town, but there were only a line of houses.

Even though it was extremely cold, but the feeling of being saved made me feel like being in heaven. I was very thankful to the people who saved me so I offered them to have a meal together, but they wouldn't accept it, and they wouldn't even tell me their names. They went back to Dege in the middle of the night without rest a second.

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