While y'all were watching the ball get fumbled around in Oregon, I was in deep Sichuan. Oct 1 is Chinese National Day and the founding of the People's Republic of China and everyone here gets 5 days off to celebrate.
Historically, Tibetans have lived in a much larger area than modern Tibet (the province) - and the Tibetan people extend into Yunnan, SIchuan and Qinghai provinces. The Jiuzhaigou area is named for the 9 (former) villages which used to be in this valley - well they're still there, but the people who grew up and lived there now sell tourist crap or pick up trash in the national park. Yay, progress? At least they have satellite television.
The park, however, is amazingly beautiful.
Here's my photos
Multi Color Lake (so blue!)
Tibetan Prayer Flags
Pearl Shoals Waterfall
Five Color Lake
Back at Nuoriliang Falls.
Double Dragon (NO REALLY!) water falls
On the third day I went to a different national park located about 125km away (60 miltes) called Huanglong - or Yellow Dragon. It's much smaller, but also much higher in altitude.
Now it looks like these places are pretty empty. But that's because of two things - first, strategic photo framing and cropping. But also, I left JUST as the crowds were arriving. Most people don't actually get to start taking days off until Oct 1 - and then taking a day in transit, people were arriving at the park(s) on Oct 2. Me? I arrived in Jiuzhaigou on Sept 29 and left on Oct 2 - but I saw the traffic heading into the valley as I left. It was unbelievable.
Here's a photo of the tourist traffic in Shanghai