. It looks as if they were going to widen the road and put in a series of super highways (lots of concrete pillars were in place for the roads that will someday criss-cross the area). Just over the crest of the mountain a large, beautiful lake came in to view. I had been reading about the lakes in the region in a tour book left in my room so I knew that the area was full of mountain lakes. This was just one of those picturesque spots. Our first adventure was to go horseback riding. 16 horses were saddled up and brought near our group and I chose a blond horse. After getting on, we traveled out down the road through traffic to the trail. We passes several local, remote, primitive homes on our way to the mountain trail. The homes were very close to other concrete highway pillars which I imagine will one day bring visitors to the lake area. How sad it must be for those people to think that their home someday might be near a raised super highway. We traveled along up into the mountains to eventually a vista which looked over the entire valley and the beautiful lake below. After a short rest, we continued along back down the trail on the other side of the mountain back towards our starting point. It was a great deal of fun scaling large rocks, muddy streams and the like as a group. Lisa was right behind me on her horse and her large horse wanted to get by my horse for a majority of the ride. Several times horses would bite other horses or stop of a water or vegetation break. The guides encouraged them along and I was glad to get off that horse after our two hour ride
Back at the bottom, our next adventure was an hour boat ride on the lake. A guide took 9 of us on the tour boat across the lake. People were enjoying the beautiful water, breezes and views. Many brides were doing photo shoots at the edge of the lake as it is customary to have many wedding photos near naturally beautiful spots. Yesterday, Angelique told us that she had wedding photos on the Lijiang bridge. Today Sareen told us that Angelique also had pictures taken near this lake, too. Our guide used a large , thick piece of bamboo to push us along the water. From the bamboo stick and the small grasses in parts of the lake, it seemed to be only 8-9 feet deep.
On the way back over the winding road, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. Lisa and I ate with Sareen, MengYang and the other adults on the trip while the others at another table nearby. We had a traditional meal (that we're now getting used to) and were given bottles of water! I was so excited because generally water is not served at meals and it can get quite dry while eating certain foods. I was so happy and took a large swallow of water. To my surprise, it was menthol water -- quite a strange taste that I would not suggest. It was like drinking water with a bit of a menthol halls undertone.
After our long morning and afternoon we went back and I took a nap. At that moment I did not realize how tired I actually was. I slept and hour and a half and then met Lisa for a walk to the convenience store. A bottle of Jasmine flower water and a few strawberry filled cookies has woken me up but I can tell that I am really going to sleep well tonight. I am writing this before dinner so that I will guarantee getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Tonight we are going to go to dinner at this hotel's main restaurant.
Today was not a day to visit the school and so we had our day planned out by Mr. Wang. The crew and Eve met us after breakfast (steamed red bean buns, rolls, eggs, bacon, sliced bread, tomatoes, noodle soup) and we were off across several mountains. We traveled up and across and as we were driving, I noticed lots of road construction and building projects. Right near our villas there is a huge sports complex being built. Eve confirmed my guess that this new building and all the new apartments around the area are related to the Olympics. From the looks of things, I think that Lijiang will want to host the Olympic summer game some years down the road. Right next to hundreds of year old buildings stand new apartment complexes. Because of the beautiful mountains surrounding the city, it appears that buildings can't be taller than 6 stories high. As we traveled over one mountain the traffic was quite slow due to the volume of construction vehicles on the highway. Trucks loaded with dirt, gravel and the like were all inching up to the top where a serious road reconstruction was beginning