Home > Uncategorized > Central China–redux pt.1

Central China–redux pt.1

So my promises of up-to-date travel adventures in the People’s Republic were, too be diplomatic (though who wants that?), misguided.  Dali was not exemplary of anything I would find during the rest of our journey other than a lot of rain and a slight chill that I hadn’t packed for.  It was nearly impossible to post, due to the fact that most computers involved lines, and internet cafe’s…oh I don’t even want to get started but…

First look at this: http://deltabridges.com/news/dongguan-news/microsoft-sues-internet-cafe-chain-based-dongguan

So it isn’t that they think we’re going to corrupt the minds of Chinese internet users with our democratic tendencies.  It’s that they think every foreigner is now Bill Gates’s spy.  So the few times we did go into internet cafes, we were met with waving hands and screams of “No! No! No!”  A little disheartening.  Also makes it a little difficult to update.

So I’m going to do it now.

So we also encountered other things that were slightly like our experience in Dali, though not on such a professional level: we succumbed to the promise of a warm cup of Pu’er in the afternoon on something that had been labeled “Foreigner Street”.  I’d heard, accurately, that this was where the Chinese tourists with their counterfeit ethnic accessories and Nikons, would gape at foreigners who had come for a more unusual and hopefully heterogeneous experience of China.  The main difference between this, however, and the rest of the journey, is that the tourists here at least tried to sneak their pictures of us writing in our diaries.  Or trying to climb mountains.  Or eating lunch…

They wanted to see what she was writing about. When I caught her at it, she just said, "you're both just so beautiful!!!"

Our time in Dali finally ended, and we got on a minibus stuffed of locals, boxes and bags with homemade plastic handles, babies that alternately slept and wept, and whipped in and out of the oncoming lane higher and higher into the mountains that lead to the Chinese Solvang of Lijiang.  Lijiang was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 because of its ancient inner-city architecture, and despite some whisperings to the contrary that I heard while I was there, it’s status has not been revoked because of the glut of Nikon-carriers.  It seemed difficult to photograph authenticity without having the frame filled with lines of identical bangle-shops and windows stuffed with dried yak meat.

Megan and I walked with our bags through the narrow streets–I almost a liability after foolishly deciding to brave the slick ancient stones in year-old cheapo flip flops (at least my outfit matched though!!!)–and found our Chinese-run hostel at the other end of the Old Town.  The neighborhood was quiet.  We needed hamburgers and then we needed quiet, so we sat in the hostel, I playing a tiny guitar with a missing string, and her reading the Lonely Planet in preparation for the following day’s trek through Tiger Leaping Gorge.

The trip gets awesome here.

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