Fire in Shangrila

Published on Author Mike

Mushroom market in Shangrila

The Wheel Turning: Praying for Shangrila

Building “Historic” Shangrila

Mushroom market in Shangrila

The New York Times Sinosphere blog reports on a fire that destroyed hundreds of buildings in Shangrila, once known as Zhongdian in Deqeng County,Yunnan Prefecture [link to Google Map]. This is an early tourist endeavor – when I visited the road was just being built, and the city itself sits on a 3,000m high plateau, with breathtaking — well, at that altitude everything is breathtaking. It’s surrounded by mountains, normally obscured by clouds, and is fairly arid. But on each side flow major rivers – the Yangtze and the Mekong and the Irriwaddy. The surrounding mountains are much higher, and isolated – at that point in time the major source of cash income was collecting mushrooms; Shangrila was the main market town, with an airport. But it could take a villager 2 days on foot to get to the nearest road, and another day by bus to get to Shangrila. Obviously, mushrooms had high value to weight.

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