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Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Desperate Day in Dali

Scenes on the 5 hour bus journey from Lijiang to Dali

We got up in Lijiang first thing, having finally got some money of out of a Bank of China ATM and caught the 8am bus to Dali. Unfortunately Christine caught diarrhea again (Probably at the Friendly Naxi Guest House in Tiger Leaping Gorge) so she was feeling pretty weak and nauseous. The bus trip was a little slow but we arrived at around noon to be greeted by a minibus which proceeded to take us to their hotel where we managed to arrange to leave our luggage and walk the old town, with a pick up at 5 pm to the airport for our flight to Jinghong.

The little hotel where we left our baggage for the day

A park opposite

Getting into the main streets

Women in Bai and other forms of traditional dress

Hiding their faces

Dali in contrrast to the old stone houses of Lijiang was a town of blue and white ceramic houses, inlaid pagodas and mossy roofs. We had a big lunch of vegetable omelette and wandered through the streets to the south gate of the old city wall. There I found a flowering cannabis plant right in the main street and took a couple of buds for good measure.

One of the city gates along the old city wall

A cannabis plant flowering beside the city wall

Gardens right on top of the city wall

We spent most of the day on the city wall with sweeping views over the town and of the lake and distant pagodas famous from the 9th century, so Christine could rest.

Twin interlocking panoramas of Lake Erhai from Dali city wall

Above where we were sitting I found a traditional Chinese classical music group giving an impromptu concert. Later we managed to bargain some Yuan and some US$ for a Bai embroidered panel and took a hot chocolate to try to steady Christine`s stomach and raced back to get our taxi for the airport.

Chinese classical music group in one of the towers on the wall

Video of the classical musicians and percussion band (below)

A crazy Bai band of gongs and trumpets walking the streets

We would have liked to have had time to go down to the shores of Lake Erhai and visit some of the smaller rustic villages and maybe cross the lake to towns on the other side, but could not because of having to leave China immediately, so here were two montages of one of the villages, which bear a comparison to Baisha and Lijiang as rustic village and town in the same style.

Two internet montages of a village on the shores of Lake Erhai

80 Y proved good value as the airport to catch our Lucky Air flight was a full hour out of town.

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