my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations

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The Tea Horse Road 5: journey’s end in Shangri La

The Tenduling monastery

The Tenduling monastery

Finally we have a day to remember, one where we see no other tourists, western or otherwise. We are headed for the monastery of Tenduling (Dondrupling in Mandarin), founded the same year (1667) as Ganden Sumtseling in Shangri La. It’s a good 100km, and the spanking new road cuts swathes through the rugged landscape – criss-crossing bridges over the Yangtze gorge, suspended on monolithic pylons and viaducts, boring through impenetrable hillsides with 3 km long tunnels. Everywhere roadside kiosks are springing up to cater for the long-distance lorry drivers – and the Chinese tourist. This is the main road to Lhasa. It is breath-taking and impressive. Whatever you say about the Chinese, they are single-minded masters of road-building and engineering. Continue reading

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The Tea Horse Road 4: Shangri La at last!

Shangri La 'old town' from our hotel window - grey old sky for grey old place

Shangri La ‘old town’ from our hotel window – grey old sky for grey old place

Shangri La! What romantic images that conjures up. In fact it’s all a cynical marketing ploy dreamed up in 1998 by the Chinese government to attract tourists to the Tibetan prefecture of Gyalthang, which was annexed by China following its ‘liberation’ of Tibet in 1959. James Hilton invented the concept of Shangri La in his famous fiction, Lost Horizon. Continue reading

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The Tea Horse Road to Shangri La 3: languishing in Lijiang

Tea Horse caravan mural in Shuhe

Tea Horse caravan mural in Shuhe

Day 5 and so to Lijiang. Now thoroughly alarmed at the mass tourism we have seen so far in in Yunnan, I am relieved that we are staying in a nearby village, Shuhe. But we are proudly told it is, guess what, a mini version of Lijiang! Yes, you got it – more tourist shops and restaurants, nothing old, just on a smaller scale! Wah! Continue reading


The Tea-Horse Road to Shangri-La 2: Dali to Lijiang

With my new friends at the Three Pagodas

With my new friends at the Three Pagodas

Day 3, Xizhou, and we meet Hom, our Bai guide for the next three days. He takes us to the market, where we get our first glimpse of Bai women in their national dress, selling all kinds of magnificent fruit – huge green mangoes with bright orange flesh, bayberries, redcurrants, mulberries, large crisp red apples, nectarines and peaches, as well as all the greens – pak choi, choi sum, kai lan, cabbages of all shapes and sizes, red and green spinach, spring onions and chives all shapes and sizes,the list is endless. Plus the more revolting sights of a woman beheading chickens, fly-blown meat, fish, eels and frogs in tanks – we are in China, after all. Continue reading

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The Tea-Horse Road to Shangri-La – Kunming to Dali

Union Jack scooter in Dali

Union Jack scooter in Dali: better than a horse these days!

So here we are on our long-anticipated jaunt to Yunnan in SW China. We will be following the ancient Tea Horse Road from the pu-er tea growing areas in the south-east of the state right up to Shangri-La on the Tibetan border; Yunnan’s other neighbours are Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. Continue reading

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Coconut crazy – the #healing powers of #coconut


I have been having a very health conscious couple of weeks – more acupuncture (agony this time) for the shoulder which six months on is still not better. I am also aware that my 18 month check is due, and my bad leg has also been twinging – whether I banged it diving or, as Mrs Ang (Prof’s wife) says as she gaily sticks more needles into it to kick start the system (the old ‘No pain, no gain’ mantra ringing in my ears), my circulation is not good enough, I don’t know. Whatever…

So I decided to look at the healing properties of coconut, which I published first on my site. My findings have excited me so much that I am sharing them with you all.

healthy living with cancer


I can see you all rolling your eyes and thinking this is just another crackpot health claim. I thought so too until I read the book, Coconut Cures by Brice Fife, that a kind dinner guest gave me recently. Now I have substituted coconut oil for all others in my cooking (and changed all the recipes on this site accordingly!), am adding 2 tsp to my daily granola and fruit, and dressing my lunchtime salad with it (plus balsamic and lime). Soon I daresay I shall be rubbing it in to my scalp where I have pre-cancerous sun damage which freezing has failed to cure and using it as sun tan oil instead of Nivea or Ambre Solaire.

Yes, dear reader, I am a convert!

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