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Bob Moseley  

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Conservation discussion  

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Observations while on trail  

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Fertility discussion  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
18 Oct 2000

    Geography
  • China
    Yunnan
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 28.4025   98.8111111
    Recording TimeCode
  • 46:51 - 49:00
    Channels
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Recorders
    Microphones
    Accessories
    Equipment Note

Show: Yunnan Great Rivers Project
Log of DAT #: 11
Engineer: Bill McQuay
Date: 001019

ng = not good
ok = okay
g = good
vg = very good

Upper Yubong

0:00:25 Rooster...crunching, soft Tibetan in background...barking dog

00:01:01 Rooster

00:01:18 Creaking door

00:02:11 back in the Tibetan kitchen, mics arranged differently this time, higher up on the shoulder
2:35 men talking to each other across the room in Tibetan,
3:50 woman walks through background, muttering, men still talking
4:43 Child yells, woman responds...soft kitchen sounds - clinking plates
6:49 Child again w/ plate clink
7:83 Child and woman

0:08:41 Some more dinner preparations...Bubbling pot...washing sounds
10:27 Frying sounds...Put on lid...dog barking
11:25 Louder frying sounds, scraping...woman talking to man
12:09 Lid...Loud boiling
13:20 rattling plates, talking
14:15 Child...loud crockery rattling

0:15:00 teaching words - "rice" "pig"

0:17:08 Child babbling loudly...

0:19:10 tossing water into pot...

0:21:07 What is rice in Tibetan?...sei...siensu

0:22:12 kid thumbing around...creaky door...dogs...crackling wrapper...child's footsteps

0:24:45 The milking...women talking to each other, cowbells

0:25:05 (vg) Cowbells...25:24 squirting starts...25:40 louder quirts, man murmuring to himself

0:26:00 Cow pissing

0:26:45 squirts and murmurs...cowbell

0:27:07 another pissing cow

0:28:12 Gong (bucket? large cowbell?)...many loud bells...

0:29:35 Man murmuring with bells, no milking

0:30:06 very pretty bells (don't sound like cowbells)

0:30:55 quiet rooster and moo

0:31:28 Okay, that was milking the yak on October 19th in the Upper Yebong using spaced onmis and the zepplin...

Interview with Bob Moseley (0:33:36 - 0:50:33)

0:33:36 You've been here three, four, five days, been to a couple of sites. Maybe it's time to synthesize the kind of message you're getting about this unique combination of culture and religion and biodiversity and attachment to the land. So wherever you want to start. One of the objectives of coming in here this fall was to work with some cultural anthropologists, some academicians, and some biodiversity specialists, some biologists, and some villagers to map the landscapes here. Both the natural landscapes and the cultural landscapes. And as you've seen as we've spent the time in here, they're very much linked. Tibetan Buddhism, the religious landscape is tied very closely to the natural landscape. And so if our objectives for the Mei-Li snowrange project are both cultural and biodiversity conservation, we want to integrate them as much as possible. So Guojiang, Jiang-jiang Wu and I have been exploring ways to do that. We've hired some villagers both in the lower villages and the upper village to take us around to some of the sites, explain the stories and get the cultural context that will allow us to integrate that with the biodiversity part of the planning.

0:35:24 Now you're sounding a lot like a scientist, what is it like?...It's pretty exciting. What we've found is there is a zonation of cultural landscapes, religious landscapes that fits very well will biodiversity planning also. Examples... the other day, let me show you on the computer there. This is a map of some satellite imagery of this area and it show some different vegetation areas. As we've been going around, we take some different GPS points and load those into the GIS, into the computer and a couple important lines. There's an area right in here that the Tibetans call Moniwronying (?) that basically means "The Natural Line." Above that on the mountains, it's a very pure, natural place. Essentially no human activity takes place there. And that's where some of their Gods live. Below that, down to the lower village is also a pretty natural place. They do very little cutting of the forest there, and when they do, they say lots of prayers to thank the Gods for these things. But it's very minimal, it's for things like bridges across rivers, or for their summer grazing houses. So those are two very important religious, spiritual lines. But they're very important for conservation also. Down here at the meeting of the rivers, the two forks of the Upper Yubong river, is a holy place called Chinizhong, which means "Two Waters Meeting." And this is where an important Llama came into the village or into the valley many years ago and essentially said, this has good, in Mandarin what would be called feng-shui. This is where you should put your village - two rivers here in good alignment, two big snow mountains up and back, good land for agriculture. That's more or less a cultural line, there. But just below that, as we went down valley, there's another line that runs from rock that looks like a water barrel, a water-vase, called "duigua" in Tibetan. And that is the line that delineates hunting and no hunting. From that line to the whole upper basin where we are now, there is no hunting of the wildlife. Again, for a religious reason. For a religious reasons. But it has obvious conservation implications as well...

0:38:05 and there is a fertility site as well? Yes, that's up near what they call the natural line, the moniwronying. That's...in fact, that fertility temple up there where people go pray, the mountain above that's...the flying gods, there are many gods in Tibetan heaven, and these are the flying Gods and they're all women and this is where they reside up on this mountain right up above us, above the fertility site.

0:39:46 What did it look like? There was two sites and it's sort of interesting. It's in this limestone cliff bands that run through some very steep forest there. The male site, I suppose, was... there was a seep over this overhanging roof of this cliff that has dripped down and formed this column which is kind of the perfect phallic symbol of what would be called what a stalagmite? A stalagtite? if it were in a cave...could never get those straight...and that was a place where they prayed and then they went up a bit hit higher, up these very steep trails through the cliffs to another overhand that had a groove, a solution groove in it that was sort of a vagina or sort of a female...and it had a little pool in the center of it and you drank from that water and it gave you women drank from it? Women and men...yeah. And both sexes prayed at each site, and that's right at the edge of that line and they have a very pure landscape above that.

0:41:14 When an ecotourist comes to this place, we see a collection of oak and aspen, and birch and rock and house, but the people who live here see a pattern of lines, cut up into quadrents, zones. A completely different way of seeing, like aboriginal song lines. Exactly. Yesterday we walked up through that meadow into some trees and there's a small opening with a rock pile and some bamboo staffs with Tibetan prayer flags in them. If you or I walked up through them, we wouldn't know what it eant, but t clearly has some significance. And we found out yesterday that it's kind of the gate to the upper valley, to the great snow mountain behind and the valleys below it where they collect firewood and graze their animals. But from that spot, you look up onto the cliff, you can actually see it from here, and there's a rock that looks like the head of the Buddha. And they all stop their and say a prayer and kind of get the key to enter the upper valley from the Buddha that essentially protects the snow mountain in back which is very sacred to them.

0:43:05 It may go without saying that all this helps the forces of conservation. But please say. This Tibetan tradition, good, bad, or indifferent towards the environment? In large measure, it's quite good¿there's a lot of characteristics about Tibetan Buddhism that very much protect the landscape and protect the biodiversity. Those are what we're looking to integrate, both protection of the cultural features and protection of the natural features. But it's not¿there's challenges, it's not that straightforward. Below the line where thy don't cut the forest, and actually below that hunting line, going out into the valley, there's a rare species of tree called the lang-sien-wansan. It's related to the Douglas fir of the eastern US and it's very restricted to this part of Yunnan. And it's located outside of the protected area. So in designing some sorts of conservation for this area, we'd have to include some sort of conservation management for that population of trees that is down valley. It may not be in any kind of protected area but it deserves some kind of conservation management. So it's not a total alignment of the important natural features and the important cultural features and that's what we're here to collecting information on.

0:45:15 On the way up here you found a rare species of, what was it? Tacsis Yunnansis or Tacsis Sumatransis, I'm not sure which. Tell me a little about the tree. It has medicinal use. The bark as I understand it, has been used for traditional Chinese medicine, maybe even Tibetan medicine, I'm not sure. Used similar to what was discovered in North America. Tacsal was discovered from that bark and it became a very important treatment for ovarian cancer. It's actually a protected species in China, similar to our endangered species, considered a threatened species.

0:46:20 Do you see many rare,, threatened species in and around this area? Regardless of whether or not you see them, are there many? There is a number of trees and plants, a lot of animals that have national classification as they call it here, like a listing under the Endangered Species Act. Such as? Most of the deer species and there's at least three here around us - water deer and musk deer and a white lipped deer. There's two primates, 2 monkeys, that are both Mckacks. One that we generally call a Reese's monkey is very common here, and I don't think that's protected. But the Assam Mckack, which is on the edge of its range here in this part of China is protected. Many of the pheasant species are protected. There's quite the, some very rare species that are protected under Chinese law.

0:47:38 one of the things you were talking about last night, that there are two or three reasons why the biodiversity is so great. I couldn't think of the terminology. These, we're standing very close to the boundary of two of the major bio-geographic realms of the earth - the temperate zone and the subtropical realm or zone. Each has very distinct floras, but they mix here at the edges. So that's probably one of the main factors for the enormous diversity of plants and animals here in Yunnan. The second is these huge elevational gradients which we're experiencing here first hand¿for instance right here where we're standing, we started on the Mekong several days ago at 7000 feet and we're standing here at the upper village of Yubong at about¿almost 11000 feet, and Mansamu, the snowpeak above us is over 6000 meters which is over 20000 feet and it's all compressed within about maybe 10 or 12 horizontal miles. It's an enormous amount of life, different life forms, that can be compressed into those elevational zones. From the very arid, sub-tropical scrub vegetation on the river through these dry, er moist forests that are very rich to the coniferous forest up to the alpine meadows and the rhododendron scrub zones above tree line right on up to the glaciers.

0:40:47 And then there's the monsoon. The third factor is that, and this maybe I find more important than some people because I'm from the arid West where there's a very intense summer dry season. Here it rains all summer, the winter is the dry season here. The monsoons from the southeast Asian monsoons blow in from the southwest starting in mid-July and lasting until early September. It's humid, it rains almost a little bit every day, sometimes rains a lot. And so there's no moisture stress for these plants and they can pack a lot of plants in there, in these forests.

0:50:33 Moo. Nice ending¿

0:50:47 I'm dying for a long hard walk¿let's set out for the upper valley¿I've got this heart attack feeling today¿I here there's a real cool lake up above the glacier they want to show us¿above the glacier¿below, did I say above? Yeah, the village leader is ready to lead us up there¿I hope he's a slow walker.

0:52:00 Cow moos, bells¿distant bird calls, water noise¿

0:53:17 That concludes the interview portion of our program. We're standing a bit above the village, the houses of Yubong where we've been staying. With Bob Mosely and Chris.

0:53:35 This is with the new arrangement of the body mics. Heading out over the fields.

0:54:17 Footsteps on dirt, voices in background.

0:55:14 Loud cowbells and herders shouting
55:24 "Hah
55:32 "Ow-ohh"
55:41 "ha".. "hu..hu to" ¿ "uoow"
55:55 Distinct bells, hooves in grass
58:00 More yells, distant
58:25 (g) Herder goading cattle (distant)
59:16 Sheep baaaaing
58:43 Last bull runs past

1:00:36 (vg) Knocking sounds (millstone making barley flour), rushing water..threshing sounds

1:01:35 Much clearer water sounds (water running through mill)

1:02:16 That's a combination of the grinding, the barley mill, the stone grinding the barley in assampa and the water that turns the stone to grind the barley.

1:02:40 Right, and left¿forest ambi, quiet (best at the very beginning)¿spitting, footsteps, panting

1:04:01 Footsteps in leaves, heavy panting (pauses and starts up again at 04:35)¿
05:02 Panting and footsteps in rocky soil
06:01 Walking through water or mud

1:06:50 Get some good breathing?

1:07:25 What's it called, this hill that the trails coming in?¿Lapatsu¿is the hill. Sacred. Tibetan¿this name came from India¿From India?¿from India religious book¿that yew tree that he pointed out, he said it was also from India, that's because it's along this trail? Got it¿quiet Tibetan¿And this hill¿On the left of Banbura, yesterday¿Over there's Banbora. Yesterday we climbed Banbura¿and Ninseiho¿what is it, it means is heart?¿Nin is heart, sei is new¿New Heart? Yeah, the ho is just for river¿New Heart River¿I'll tell you the story about it. Kawagebo come to there to walk him (??), so he very glad to have a new heart¿

1:11:40 Man speaks¿(vg) footstep walking past on rocky soil (no panting)¿Okay, that was a couple of walkbys, first by Chris with the heavy breathing, then we stopped for a little rest, then the leader of the village first, then the rest of the group.

11:12:33 Then that pack of glaciers there drain in to the waterfall on the other side¿so tell us about this field and the first field and how it's all related to Kawagebo¿they are every, how do you say it¿the way I understand, the guides told us yesterday. Kawagebo is a fierce god and he rides a white horse, and these small meadows, the ones we passed yesterday are the foot steps of his horse. These small wet meadows in the forest. This kind of bog that we're in now, he set up a camp on the edge. And that pool over there is where he took a bath and he had a very good feeling in his heart . and the name of the place is Ninseiho¿ninseiho¿which means "heart new river"¿ "New Heart Water"?¿New Heart Water, which is what Kawagebo got when he bathed in it.

1:14:00 I could use a bath, too¿Wanna walk over there?¿Yeah.
1:14:10 (vg) Wet footsteps¿mic distort¿No, that's useless

1:15:20 Underwater steps¿more mud¿

1:16:45 Tibetan (T)¿Footprint of what? Asian bear?¿deer¿It's amazing they could see a foot print in that bit of beaten grass¿the horse came just this side¿Horse or deer?¿Deer¿this time, the cargo was just, up there, when we come, he is rid the horse going¿Riding the horse¿Yeah¿T¿And at the place, the people's come together, the children cry, or their voice, how do you say¿is very big voice¿if they make the noise, the well it will ring¿T¿And if the villagers have no rain when their plants are filled, they can come to there for prayer that Kawagebo will give them some rain so in the village it will rain¿T¿

1:19:38 (noisy water behind) Village leader in T¿and the villages people let the animals at the grassland, but sometimes (louder water sound passes) but sometimes, they can't find their animals so they think the Kawagebo, how do you say, goured their animals. But they don't know they're dead. So they fire their prayer at there¿so they can't find the animal, prayer for here¿T¿And sometimes, the animals just very easily to go, but they can't go out. So they think Kawagebo discovered them. So at there, the prayer at there, they prayer at Kawagebo that let their animal come out¿soft discussion of terrain, talking in T¿

1:22:25 And this place, just before the animals catch¿T¿and when they pray up there, they found the trees don't like in the homes, just, the trees. Hmmm, what's that¿Fir¿the fir, the tree's fir, and some powder from a kind of white stone, the powder. So they put some grain and water and fill them for prayer at this place.

1:23:58 Water

1:24:05 Leader in T¿Bob, tell him how to use this. He wants to find some animals¿So, this brings it into focus, go like this¿oh yeah, maybe there's more¿He can see 7¿Dun, duin¿

1:26:30 Bach violin

1:26:50 Water ambi

1:28:38 (off-mic) This here, this dirty white stuff, that's glacier¿Let's go, let's go. Have lunch¿Careful Bill, that's real steep¿We can go that way¿

1:29:46 Fire crackling softly¿blowing sounds¿grunts¿Transferring reel-to-reel and cassette stuff¿
1:30:28 (g) Blowing on fire¿louder crackling fire¿wood breaking
1:31:27 (g) Breaking up sticks.

1:32:08 Breaking sticks, grunts, pouring water¿

1:32:50 Here's the fire for the preparation of lunch we'll be served here below Kawagebo's uncle.

1:33:00 (vg) Bird chirp w/ water¿.a little bird ambi there.

1:34:10 (vg) Loud, clear running water ambi¿
1:35:46 A little experiment here, one minute of this stream from three different positions, moving forward five feet each time
1:36:16 (1) First take
1:37:26 (2) Second take: much louder
1:38:33 (3) Third take: more articulate, not as crowded
1:39:39 (4) Fourth take: much softer, sounds slower
1:40:51 (5) Fifth take: water only in background
1:41:17 (6) Sixth take: closer, still distant. Voices in Tibetan
1:42:47 (7) Seventh take: louder water, voices
1:43:43 (8) Eighth take
1:44:44 (9) Ninth take: water, voices, birds at beginning
1:45:44 (10) Tenth take: water slightly louder, still just rushing, not articulate
1:46:45 (11) Eleventh take: same volume, no voices at first
1:47:46 (12) Twelfth move
1:48:44 (13) Thirteenth move
1:49:50 (14) Fourteenth move

1:50:40 Cracking steps, men talking loudly in T, woman responding.
1:51:02

1:52:20 This place is named Ushashimo¿Goddess name, Ushashimo. And at his place, the villagers how have no ?? children pray up there, to the wind maybe for children. And at that place, have a llama, made there¿bury there bottle¿the bottle is ?? bottle. And in this bottle have grain, medicine. Also have the silk, the candlestick ¿T¿and other things in this bottle, so he likes the bottle¿An offering¿so this is a fertility site?¿the llama¿this bottle is half the reason the Tibetan words¿so it's very¿conference in T¿It's powerful¿it can protect the persons¿I misunderstood, I though this was a place for people who could not have children¿yeah¿We call this a fertility site, that they will be blessed to have children¿Yeah¿T¿In this place also are ?? the grand priests and the many many years ago, they came, but this town didn't know¿And the stone looks like a dragon¿T¿and its cave also has the bottle, its cave¿If they have the water from there, looks like there, we see the cave, also have some water for the prayer people¿Do they drink the water?¿Yeah, but maybe this time just small maybe¿

1:55:02 So the water is just for the god named Karuma¿Name of the Goddess¿Ushashimo, the name mean, Usho is the very big free, he's very free¿Great freedom¿
1:56:13 Men talking in T¿

1:57:03 It's like the other site we visited, a fertility site¿But here it's together, the male and female together¿and there it was just male, with female further up¿T¿

1:58:10 Someone slips - concerned Tibetan

1:59:05 (ok) This place founded by our great llama. Our village, no one know this is a place for prayer. When the llama came here, he told them, this a very great place¿ring¿

2:00:15 Other side, where we usually go, it has other, four llamas' practice place, but it is also destroyed¿T¿He say that is maybe the world beginning place¿ wow¿footsteps in grass, birds¿

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