Day 52

Trip Start Sep 14, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Sunday, November 5, 2006

I got up early and went and found some breakfast. The Irish guys that manage the place are in a partnership with a Chinese man who owns the building and the restaurant next door. I think the Irish lads are beginning to understand the difference between the lifestyle they want (living in Dali, smoking pot, parties) and the business they are trying to run (a legitimate and very nice guesthouse) - at present they're the same thing but I don't think it can carry on like that. Last night they went out to a party in town, and only Derek was up and working while everyone else was sleeping. Derek cooked me a bacon sandwich and we had a good chat about his time in China.

Steve and I took a bus into the main part of Dali and did some shopping. I didn't have a warm jacket for the mountain trekking we'd been doing lately and was glad to find a great brand-imitation one from an outdoor shop. We also looked around the bookstores hoping to get some guides on South-East Asia, we're leaving China soon so my books will need to be exchanged for more relevant ones.

We walked into a Muslim noodle restaurant and it felt good that we were in the sort of place that we wouldn't have gone anywhere near a few weeks ago. It was grubby, had staff watching tv, no English menu, and all the raw vegetables on display out front. The reason it felt good was because it felt normal to be in that kind of place and not being particular about petty things like hygiene certificates or laminated English menus. The food was top drawer as expected too - excellent!

Back at the guesthouse Arjen and Audrey had arrived from Lijiang so we had a drink and played some of the "kicky-thing" game with Antonio out on the lawn. Not sure if I've mentioned "kicky-thing" before, but it's a game with a shuttlecock type thing - instead of a round base for a racquet to hit it has a square base for a foot/chest/head or anything else you can throw at it. The idea is to keep it up in the air for a long time. I'd seen 50 year old women doing this with great ease in tight circles back in Luoyang, but we were all pretty useless and thankfully the thing broke before long and we could go inside for a nice cool beer.
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