Ahhh, we slowed down the pace in Dali, China
Trip Start Jan 11, 2009
53Trip End Apr 12, 2009
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Where I stayed
Yu Yuan Hotel
Dali City (Old Town) is a lovely old well preserved town with its city walls still intact. It's been recently renovated and is now a mixture of new and old. There are busloads of Chinese tourists wandering the town in big tour groups scouring for trinkets in the repetitive souvenir shops but much like Bourbon street in New Orleans if you wander away you get to see the prettier parts of the old town. Westerners are in short supply so we get a lot of photos and video taken of us and even the occasional thumbs up with a smile!
This is pickpocket central, so we really had to watch out. B2 felt several people brush up against his backpack; one person managed to get into the outside pocket and gave a real tug on an internal pouch. Luckily, there was nothing worth taking in that outside-most pocket (we packed it that way). A2 wore her bag mostly on the front when walking in very crowded areas. We are thinking about putting mouse traps just in side the outer flap on B2's back pack.
After the first night we moved to a cheaper guest house named Yu Yuan Hotel. They had free laundry and internet at half the price so it was a much better deal than Tibetan Jim's. On the second day we went to the historic site called The Three Pagoda's, which also has a giant modern temple complex behind it. We spent about 5 hours there, exploring all the buildings and walking two miles or so uphill to the last building in the complex called "Lakeview Temple". We felt like we had the entire place to ourselves - there were very few tourists there. The guard at the Lakeview temple was so bored due to the lack of visitors, that he gave B2 a big hug and wanted his photo taken. It was quite funny. He pointed out a few buildings and told us a few things in Chinese. We smiled and laughed with him, to give him some company
On day three we roamed the streets of a village to the east called Cai Cun, it was a quiet and serene village, or so we thought; just as we were getting used to the place and feeling welcomed we fell under attack by a militia of recently released school children! After striking their colors by pissing in front of us we were surrounded and they proceeded to unload their entire clip of water rounds through colorful pistols.... We retreated after fighting the good fight but they saw fit to throw rocks at us, only salting our wounds. Luckily we were able to head into the jungle of bean fields to the west and escape with our lives. We continued to wander through the canola and bean fields until we got lost, luckily a cute dog showed us the way to a road via a small irrigation canal where we were able to catch a bus. We tossed the dog a small snack, wished it well and blessed that it or its relatives would never visit southern Yunnan or Vietnam.
Dali was a great stop and we finally got a chance to fully recuperate after rough travels in the week before.