Danny's Travel Diary in China 3 - |Day6 to Day10|

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Danny's Travel Diary in China 3

Day 6: Biking through the karst scenery (29 June 2009)
Since our hotel has no restaurant, we had to go to the other side of the street to have
breakfast. Here we enjoyed another typical English breakfast on the terrace. During
breakfast we saw the daily life on the main street. It was still too early for the Chinese
tourists. Restaurants get new supplies and women prepare there shopping stalls with
souvenirs.
When we finished breakfast we walked with our guide to a shop, where we hired some
bikes. After testing the brakes and the tire pressure, we biked away. First we had to
cycle in the busy traffic. But soon we turned to another road with hardly any cars. The
weather was nice with just clouds, nut no rain. We cycled across green rice paddies with
overgrowth karstmountains. So now and then we passed small farms and old temples. It
looked like the time stood still here. After a while our guide asked if we were OK. I am
doing fine and enjoy the ride. Between my mother-in-law and the guide there was some
conversation in Mandarin. I didn’t understand it, but ignore it. A few hundreds meters
further we reached a small river.We parked our bikes and walked over a small bridge to
the other side. Some men were fishing and women washed fresh vegetables in the river.
We shoot some pictures and turned back to our bikes. At the bridge we were almost
pushed in the river by some passing buffaloes, but we reached the other side safely.


                                                 Biking in Yangshuo area

We took our bikes and returned to Yangsuo taking the same way. That surprised me and
I fell disappointed. We just cycled for a little more than one hour. The day before our
guide showed me the route and that would take two to three hours. Our guide didn’t
respond clearly, when I asked her the reason for this shortcut. But I suspect that my
mother-in-law knows the exact reason…
With a bad mood, I walked to the nearest outdoor café and bought some water for the
women and for myself a big cold bottle of beer. Just a couple of minutes later both
women stood up and went shopping. I just started drinking for my beer, so I was
surprised again. There I sat down on my own, all alone. At that time I decided that I want
to come back to China, with other company who are more active. I’ve read in my
guidebook that there is a lot to see in the area and that our time is way too short to enjoy
fully. So maybe that is an idea for the future.
Just before lunchtime our guide went to our hotel.We checked out and walked with our
entire luggage to the parking lot, where our mini-bus was already waiting for us. We put
our luggage in the car and went into a nearby restaurant. Nice dressed girls showed the
way to a private room, where we could sit. It is a bit boring without any other guests, but
the food was very tasteful again. This time we’ve fried rice instead of boiled rice.
With a full stomach we get into our bus and drove to our hotel in Guilin. Along the way
we would visit the reed flute cave. The cave got his name, because in the past many
reeds was growing in the area and farmers made flutes from it. The cave is beautifully
illuminated in the colors blue, green and red. Our guide explained about the names of
the stalactites and stalagmites. Again I must laugh about the weird imagination of the
Chinese people. Anyway the cave was a must to visit.
On the way back to our hotel, our guide asked if we want to join an optional boat trip in
the evening.We read in our guidebook about the trip, but the price of this trip was very
expensive. So we choose not to go. The lakes were easy to visit by feet and that’s for
free. In the hotel our guide asked if it’s a problem to have diner in the hotel instead of a
restaurant. That was no problem for us. It just makes it easier for us to enjoy the
evening. Diner was also good and the staff was very friendly and helpful. A group of
formal dressed Chinese men and women were sitting a few tables away from us. They
talked loudly and some kind of alcoholic drinks passed around. It was amusing to see.
My mother-in-law decided to stay in the hotel room, so my wife and I went out on our
own. It was moistly and warm. We walked to the riverside, where osmanthustrees
flanked the street with green lights. Not far away from the river we reached the first lake.
In the middle of the lake there are two pagodas. One is colored gold, while the other one
is in silver color. At the lakes there is a nice park where young Chinese couples were
walking hand in hand. I enjoyed this romantic place, but sadly it started to rain again.
The second lake has fountains that react on the sound of music. We passed a square
with an old but beautiful illuminated south gate. In the meantime it rained harder, so we
walked back to our hotel. The main street was closed for cars in the evening and turned
to be a night market. Back at the hotel we showered and get to bed.


                                         Guilin Park

Day 7: Rice terraces of Ping An (30 June 2009)
Get up, pack in, have breakfast, checkout and hop on the minibus again.
This time we drove to the north. When we left Guilin the karstmountains disappear and
the scenery changed in slanted hills. After two hours driving, the hills became higher and
we passed many hairpins. In the end we stopped at a parking lot. We couldn’t go any
further by car.
The driver unloaded our main luggage and strong porters from the Zhuang minority
carried it up the mountain. We had to walk for about 30 minutes to get to Ping An
Village. In the meantime I’ve got shooting pain in my abdomen. Subconsciously I walked
faster. I knew I had to go to the toilet soon. The path was pretty steep and the women
had a tough time to get up. But we were very happy that we didn’t have to carry our
heavy luggage. I felt a bit pity for them. The suitcase of my wife was almost 25kg.
Finally we arrived at the village, which consist entirely of wooden houses. We had to
climb a little more to our simple but nice hotel. It seems that we were a bit too early,
because our room wasn’t ready yet. I couldn’t wait any minute longer, so I asked if I
could go to another toilet. At the back of the hotel there were some dirty squat toilets. I
hate these toilets, but luckily I saw in one of those toilets a welcoming invention. There
was a combination of a normal toilet seat mounted on a folding chair. That kind of chair I
placed on over the squat toilet and I thanked the lord, while doing the dirty job. Shortly
after that my pain in my abdomen stopped and I felt like reborn.
In our room at the fourth floor we rest a bit, before we could enjoy our lunch. The view
from our room was really exciting. We could see the entire village and the surrounding
hills. The lunch didn’t taste good, but it was eatable. During the lunch I asked our guide
about any plans for the next day. According to our program we had free time, but I liked
to have a walk in the surroundings. The guide told us, that we will also have a short walk
after lunch. But if I wished I could visit another village with different a tribe tomorrow.
That sounded nice, but it was a pity that I have to walk on my own.
With only our cameras and a raincoat we walked to a nearby viewpoint. The climb was
much easier than in the morning, since we didn’t have any other luggage to carry. Also
the beautiful views make the walk more pleasant. The steep slopes are the most
impressive rice terraces I have ever seen. Chinese people gave these mountains the
name: “Dragonboneterraces”. Halfway to the top there was a place to rest with souvenirs
stands. Tourist could shoot pictures (after paying) from pretty girls with “traditional”
clothes. Thanks to a good zoom, I also shoot secretly some, without paying. At the top
there were more souvenirs stands, but every tourist just ignore them. The view here is
just stunning. Everywhere we looked we saw hills with green rice paddies. The low
clouds in the mountains gave it a fairytale look. Our guide showed me the way that I
have to walk the next day. At the other side of the village there was another viewpoint
and that will be the starting point for my hike. After shooting pictures we went back down
to our hotel. It started to rain a bit. In the mean time Wulan also got some shooting pain
in her abdomen. So we hurried a bit more.


                               Rice terraces at Longsheng

Back in the hotel we rest, while Wulan dealt with her cramps. After some time, Wulan fell
better and together we stroll through the village. My mother-in-law stayed at the hotel to
rest more. She was very tired after all the climbing. The small streets winds between the
wooden houses. Every house was build at different heights. This made our small hike a
nice adventure. Within a couple of minutes we lost our feeling of direction. Many houses
were turned into hotels, small restaurants or souvenir shops. Corn and red peppers were
drying at the roof of some of the traditional houses. On our way back to the hotel we rest
at a small terrace and drink a beer, while enjoying the nice view.
Once again the diner didn’t taste well. I hoped we could sit outside, but the weather
changed soon. Rain and thunder swept through the village. One Dutch backpacker
arrived in the hotel. Her clothes were soaked to the skin. She asked us if we knew the
location of some other hotel, which we didn’t know. Probably she was too tired to search
again, because she asked about other rooms in our hotel. I guess she found the prices
too high and went back in the rain. I felt pity for her. The weather was really scary. That
evening we decided to go to bed early. I wanted to wake up very early the next day and
besides that. There wasn’t anything to do in the evening.

Day 8: Hiking between the rice paddies (1 July 2009)
At 6 0’clock in the morning I woke up by the annoying sound of my alarm. It was still dark
outside and I heard the rain against our window. In spite of the bad weather, I decided to
wake up. After I dressed myself, I walked downstairs to the restaurant. According to our
guide, we could have breakfast starting from half past six. It was still dark when I walked
into the restaurant. I just sat down and hoped that someone would help me soon. I had
to wait for more than half an hour, before the staff arrived. They directly helped me with
a cup of hot tea, but I had to wait more before the breakfast was ready. This was very
annoying because I had only little time to finish my hiking. Outside it was raining cats
and dogs and it was a bit foggy. I wondered whether I didn’t take too much risk. Wulan
and her mom joined me with breakfast in the meantime. They declared me insane for
taking this hike with this rain. Anyway I pushed on and after I finished my breakfast I
prepared myself for the hike.
That’s how I start on my own wearing a poncho walking through the village to the first
viewpoint. I only had about three hours to visit the village Zhonglin and get back to Ping
An. I decided to walk as fast as a can, but keep the safety in mind.While still in the
village, I took the wrong turn at the first fork. After some climbing and clamber, I saw that
this path was going to the left going to the wrong viewpoint. That was the same
viewpoint as we went a day before. I should go to the right. I worried that I might have to
walk a long detour. But luckily there was another fork and I turned to the right in the right
direction. Walking on a small slippery path along the rice paddies, I went to the viewpoint
two. The fog was gone and it was only slightly raining. The rocks are very slippery and I
had to take care that I was not falling.
After fifteen minutes hiking I arrived at the second viewpoint. The view was still poor
because of the bad weather. But I discovered a small sign with an arrow pointing to the
village. The first part of the road was a sandy track where a jeep could ride. Because of
the bad weather the track was converted to a mud bath. I hoped that I could safely walk
here without causing a landslide. After some time the path became much smaller and
only consist of flat rocks and I disappear in the jungle. I left the beautiful rice terraces
behind. I walked along a beautiful lake with bamboo and coniferous forest in the
surrounding hills. I didn’t have much time to enjoy it, since I didn’t know how far it was to
that village.
After walking for about 45 minutes I passed some small rice terraces. I hoped that I was
close to the villages now. But I didn’t see anyone in the neighborhood. A little bit further I
passed some burial mounds. The ethnical minorities doesn’t bury their death not in the
own village but in the rice paddies. It was a bit scary and I’ve got goose pimples. It was
just like I was walking in a death valley. In the meantime the rain changed to drizzle.
That was nice, because my face and my back were quite sweaty from all that climbing.
The landscape became very beautiful now. But I still didn’t see the village Zhonglin.
Just at the time that I want to go back to Ping An, I saw six women of the Yao minority.
Women of the Yao minority are famous because of their very long hair that is tied up
together. They were almost more surprised to see a foreign long nose coming up their
way than me. Looking at their bags, I thought that they were on their way to the rice
fields. Probably they were happy to see me. With gesticulation they asked me if I was on
my way to their village. I shook affirmative my head and before I knew two of the women
decided to guide me. Slowly we went forward, but at least they knew the right direction.
While walking, one woman asked me if I like to have some food at her house. Without
thinking I agree.


                       Beautiful nature during the hike

We had to walk another fifteen minutes before I saw the first houses. I looked at my
watch and I saw that it took me more than one hour. So I didn’t have much time in the
village, before I had to walk back to Ping An. On our way the women also asked me if I
like to take a picture, while they untied their long hair. Deeply I would like that, because
that is quite unique. But there was no time. Maybe later I would have more time. Finally
we arrived at the village. The houses looked the same as in Ping An, but there were no
hotels or restaurants here. We walked through small roads and I was almost afraid that
we were just passing this village. But in the end the women walked into a house.
Inside the house there was a big family eating around a table. They didn’t look very
surprised to see a western foreigner. So I suspect that they have usually visits from
tourist of Ping An. They gave a chair to me and gave me some lemonade. The women
that guided me, directly started to prepare a meal for me. Of course that took some time,
so I was really worried if I get back in time. I tried to make myself clear that I just want to
taste some food and that I won’t eat much. Finally the food was prepared. There was
some rice, vegetables, cold pork meat and a dish with potatoes. The taste was better
than I expected. But when I looked again at my watch, I made a decision. If I didn’t want
to miss the plane to Kunming, I had to go right away. I make myself clear that had
enough food and that I had to go. They looked a bit surprised and maybe disappointed,
but I couldn’t help it. When I put on my backpack, the women hurried to a corner and get
some souvenirs. If I really wanted to go as soon as possible, I should buy something and
bargain not too much. I bought from each woman a handmade wallet and gave some
money for the food.
I thanked everyone and went away into the hills. The both women followed me, because
they had to go to their rice fields again. They didn’t mind that I shoot one picture from
them, but there was no time for the famous hair show. The weather was very good now,
so along the way I could finally shoot some more pictures. Almost running, I walked
through the beautiful landscape. The women couldn’t keep up with me so I waved them
farewell. Luckily I knew the way now. So I knew how far to walk when I passed some
marks. Within 45 minutes I saw Ping An village far away in the valley. I was happy that I
still had some 15 minutes left. In spite of that the last part took longer than I thought. Just
after eleven o’clock I was back in the hotel.
The muscles of my legs were totally contorted and it took some time to get back all the
way to our room at the fourth floor. Back in our room I undressed and took a nice warm
shower. My clothes and my shoes where wet and dirty all over. There was no time to get
them cleaned and dry before we left the hotel. I didn’t care. I just put them in a plastic
bag. I was so thirsty that I drank all the lemonade we had in our room. At noon we
walked again with our entire luggage back to our bus. Our helpers carried the big
luggage again. This time it was easier to walk down. All tired I climbed in the bus and
drove back to Guilin. Along the way I fell asleep a couple of times. Two hours later we
arrived at the airport in Guilin. We said goodbye to our driver and our guide. We still had
one our before our flight left and this time it was right on time.
After a flight of about one and a half hour we arrived in Kunming. Kunming is the capital
city of Yunnan. We will stay in this province for about one week. While we were waiting
for our luggage, I saw our names already on a sign that our next guide was showing.
She is a tiny girl and looked very shy and nervous.With a minibus we drove first to a
special restaurant, before we could go to our hotel. We had to walk over a square to get
to the restaurant. Suddenly three young kids came after us and start begging for money.
This was not a nice feeling of a city that should be “relaxing”.
In the restaurant the staff showed us a table. Since none of us had a proper lunch we all
are very hungry. Every one of us got a giant bowl of soup. They put noodles and other
vegetables and meat in it. This dish is very famous in Kunming and is called “Crossingthe-
Bridge Noodles”. During eating this huge noodle soup, we could add more different
kinds of food in it. There were also fried mealworms. I was very surprised that Wulan
also tasted this strange kind of food. Although the meal looks delicious it didn’t taste very
good. Maybe that was just because we were so tired.


                           Crossing-the-bridge noodle soup

We went to our hotel after finishing diner. It was a big business hotel that is close to the
train station. Our rooms look fine. We cleaned our clothes and let them dry. Next day we
will have a busy day again, so we went to bed early.

Day9: Stone forest visit (2 July 2009)
We were not allowed to sleep long this morning. From our window we could see a busy
bus station. Early in the morning the bus drivers like to wake us up with their annoying
honk at their claxons. Luckily I still manage to sleep, but the women decided to wake up.
Together we had breakfast and than pack our stuff. We wouldn’t stay in this hotel the
next night. We brought our belongings downstairs to keep it in the luggage store. Our
guide was already waiting for us. After all we were late again.
After driving for about two hours over a nice highway, we arrived at the famous Stone
Forest nearby Kunming. We got out of our mini-bus and went to the washing room for a
welcoming stop.When everyone was ready, we squeeze between the many touring cars
to the entrance of the park. Along the way we passed some nice souvenirs shops, but
we decided to visit them on our way back. At the entrance there were many guides
dressed like the local Sani minority.
Together with a large group of other tourists we walked into the park. At that time the
crowd was not unpleasant yet. With electric cars most of the groups drive from one spot
to the other.We had plenty of time and visit the park by foot. The first thing we saw was
a big lake with rocks. It wasn’t that special, until our guide gave some explanation. Long
time ago a minister visits the park. He liked the park very much, but he couldn’t stand it,
that there was no water. According to Feng Shui there should always be water, where
there are mountains. So he ordered to dig out an artificial lake at the park. I think this is a
typical way of Chinese thinking, but I have respect for it.
We keep on walking passing green grassland with several small and bigger rock
formations. Some rocks contain Chinese Characters and explain the names of the rocks.
That’s easy for the Chinese tourists, now they didn’t need any guide. Slowly the path
starts to get narrower and it became annoyingly crowded. It wasn’t possible anymore to
take any pictures, without people standing in the way. We need a lot of patience to make
some nice shots.
At some places you could have a picture of yourself together with a charming redressed
Sani girl. They have a kind of “Beatrix-hat” with two standing triangles at each side of the
hat. That hat just looked like it was stolen from the Astrix and Obelix comic book. Our
guide warned me, not to touch the triangles with both hands. Otherwise I had to marry
that woman. I saw some really good looking girls where I would like to touch those
triangles, but I guess my wife doesn’t like the idea to share me with one of those girls.
So leave the girls alone, after a shoot some nice pictures.
The rock formations became bigger and higher, but also sharper. It is really unbelievable
that nature creates this. Some of the formations look like enormous shark teethes. At
some spot our guide turned into a quieter path. Now we left the crowded inner forest. We
walked some stairs without seeing any other tourist. Here we could make beautiful shots
without being disturbed. At the top of a hill we enjoyed a wonderful view from long grey
vertical rock formations. It really looked like a stone forest. Downwards we had to be
careful not to hit our heads against fallen rocks.


                                       Stone forest at Kunming

In the end we arrived at a wide open part with a main road. Following this road, we went
back to the inner stone forest. We passed a rock formation that really looked like an
elephant. The trunk and the ears were easy to recognize. In the meantime Wulan started
to walk slower and slower. She got shooting pains in her abdomen and walking makes it
more painful. We didn’t have any painkiller with us now, so she needed to wait till we
were back at the car. We were not in a hurry, so slowly we walked to the exit.We
passed more typical rock formations, like a standing boot and a kangaroo. Near the exit
of the park we saw a rock with a poem made by Mao Zedong.
For unknown reasons we walked a different way to our car. There was no possibility to
shop at the souvenirs shops. Honestly we were too tired to walk back and the most
important thing was that Wulan should eat some painkillers right away. Our van brought
us to a nearby restaurant. The food was OK, but after seeing another dish of duck meat
we had enough for a couple of weeks. The pancakes made of goat cheese taste a bit
weird.
After lunch we drove back to Kunming. Since we had still a lot of time left before we took
the night train to Dali, our guide dropped us at a tourist trap. There were some large
souvenirs shops with handicraft and traditional Chinese medicines. We just visit a
teashop, where we could taste different kind of teas. That was quite interesting for me,
because Yunnan province is very famous of their tea plantations. The girls explained in
Chinese what kind of tea we were drinking. Our guide translated it back in English to us.
We tasted the Jasmine, Pu’erh and the Black tea. Of course we could buy huge amount
of these high quality tea, but we still have a lot of tea to drink at home, before our stock
is empty.
The last part to Kunming we drove on a busy and bumping road. It seemed that our
driver was in a hurry and risked our lives to pass every car at the last moment. We we’re
suffering a bit of carsickness when we arrived at the restaurant in Kunming. I was happy
to get out of the car. In the meantime the painkillers stopped working and Wulan was
moaning of the pain. After some talk between our guide and my mother-in-law, they
decided to go back to the teashop to get some traditional medicine at the nearby shop.
Wulan and I just stayed behind in the restaurant to relax and to drink some tea.
About one hour later, my mother-in-law and the guide went back. They bought some
rare Tibetan medicine for 200 Euro. I hoped that the medicines really would work for that
large amount of money. In the meantime the diner was prepared. We really didn’t want
to eat duck anymore, so our guide ordered a special meal for us. In the middle of our
table there was a gas heater with a huge pot of soup. A lot of different kinds of
mushrooms were added together with small pieces of pig meat. This tasted really
delicious. Who could ever think twenty years ago that I would eat so many mushrooms?
At that time I would throw away my complete diner when I saw just one mushroom.
During dinner Wulan fell a lot better and her mood became also better again.
We had a nice dinner, but finally we had to stop eating and go on our way again. Our
mini-bus took us to our hotel where we got our luggage. After a last stop at the toilets we
drove to the nearby train station. Our guide showed us the way to our luxurious waiting
room and say farewell to us. We had to wait for about half an hour when a loudspeaker
announced that our train had arrived. With all our belongings we went stairs up and
down and finally we found our cabin. Our tour operator organized a 4 person sleeper. It
looked clean and comfortable. After we prepared our beds, the train started to move. It
was still early so we listen to some relaxing music and soon I fell asleep. The next
morning we arrived very early in the small town named Dali.

Day 10: Our stay in Dali (3 July 2009)
When the lights went on in our train cabin, I thought it was still in the middle of the night.
I didn’t sleep well because of all the shaking, but I think I slept at least some hours.
Slowly we started to dress and get our belongings. Since our luggage took so much
space in our cabin,Wulan and her mom decided to wait near the exit. I stayed for a
while in the cabin, because I didn’t want to carry my heavy backpack for such a long
time. That was a good decision. We had to wait for almost twenty minutes before the
train finally arrived at the station of Xiaguan. Still sleepy I put on my backpack and
squeeze myself through the small aisle to the door to get out of the train.
With our luggage we joined the crowd and walked stairs up and down. Finally we saw
the exit. Before we could leave the train station we had to show our ticket again. Luckily
we didn’t throw it already away. Outside the station it was still dark and crowded. But I
could clearly see our names on a nameplate. We walked toward the strong build man,
who was carrying the nameplate. He looked surprised to my wife and her mom. He didn’t
expect some overseas Chinese. He helped us carrying our luggage to the minibus and
drove to our destination Dali.
Luckily our guide didn’t bother us with listing all the piece of information. Probably he
knew that we were still sleeping half. Instead of it, he just introduced himself and the
driver and explained about our plans for the next two days. After half an hour driving we
arrived at the beautiful Landscape Hotel. The hotel has some courtyards with white walls
and paintings in blue and gray. This was typical architectural style for Dali. Our room
was on the ground floor and looked very well.We had some time to relax, dress up and
to enjoy our extensive breakfast in buffet style.
After all this we had recovered well from our overnight train and get in our minibus again.
We drove to the nearby lake Er Hai. This lake has the form of an ear (Er=Ear, Hai=Sea)
and has a length of 42 kilometer. At the wharf we had to wait for a couple of minutes for
another family of tourist. So we walked around a bit and enjoyed the view. The weather
was the best in China so far. Finally we saw some blue sky in the clouded sky.
Automatically this made our mood better.
When the other tourists arrive we get aboard our motorboat and sailed to a small
fisherman’s Island called Jinsuo.When I looked back at Dali, we saw the city become
smaller and smaller. Now we had a good impression about the beautiful surroundings.
Dali is at the bottom of the green Cangshan mountain range. This range had an average
height of 4000 meter. The summits of the mountains were invisible due to the law
hanging clouds. After fifteen minutes sailing we arrived at the island and get off the boat.
The other tourist took a different way with their guide, so we were also alone with our
guide. He explained about the culture of the Bai minority that lives on this Island but also
lives in Dali. Our guide spoke fluently English and was in great mood. We walked a small
trip and passed temples, houses and ended at the market. At the stalls we saw all kinds
of fish put on a stick like a “sate”. It was not really interesting for us and we were happy
to sail back to Dali.
In the meantime it was time for lunch and we drove to some backwater street and
stopped at a dirty looking restaurant. We went inside and walked to the first floor and
went in a separate room. The room was better. It looked clean and was nicely
decorated. The food was very tasteful. But our guide advised us not to use the toilet
here, but try to hold on for later in the afternoon.
After lunch we drove to the famous three pagodas of Dali. These pagodas were
surrounded by beautiful gardens. But before we enter the gardens we went to the toilets.
Our guide was absolutely right at the restaurant. Here I found the most beautiful clean
and modern toilets that I would find in whole China. From the entrance we directly
walked to the left, instead of walking strait to the pagodas. Here we had a wonderful
view from a pond with the pagodas and the mountains at the background. We shoot
some pictures and than we followed the guide to the pagodas. Along the way he
provides us interesting details about the pagodas. The highest pagoda is 69 meter high
and built during the ninth century. The two smaller pagodas are both 43 meters high and
built during the tenth century. The pagodas suffered some damage due to several
earthquakes. After one earthquake the big pagoda stood slantingly, like the tower of Pisa
in Italy. After the next earthquake the big pagoda almost stand right again. That’s just a
miracle. Because of those earthquakes the smaller pagodas are growing to each other.
Exactly in the middle of the three pagodas is a rock in the courtyard. When you hit the
rock with a smaller rock, you can hear the echo reflecting back from the pagodas. That’s
very weird.


                                            Three Pagodas

There is another beautiful pond behind the pagodas. When you stand at some spot you
can see the pagodas reflecting in the pond like a mirror. A little bit further there is a
modern bell tower. It’s build as a celebration that HK belongs to China again. I asked our
guide; When Taiwan will reunite with China, will they build a drum tower here? He react
a bit shy and it was clear that he didn’t want to talk openly about this kind of subjects.
From the summit of the bell tower we had a magnificent view over Dali and the Er Hai
Lake. From the other side we saw the mountains and a complete new temple complex.
This was so new that our guide told us, that it was not worth full to see.
We left the pagodas and drive to the south gate of Dali. From here we walked through
the main street and passed many souvenirs shops. A small river flows parallel at the
main street. Dali is a nice city full with tourist and nice souvenirs.We walked along this
street back to our hotel. The women were already hunting for souvenirs, but suddenly I
fell pain in my stomach and told them that I want to go back to the hotel as soon as
possible. In the end I had to run to go to the toilet, but luckily I keep my pants clean.
When I finished the toilet job and some refreshment, we went outside again. Both the
women went out on souvenir hunting, while I went out to explore the old city. At the
crossroad near the hotel there was a man, who asked me for shoeshine. I was wearing
kind of sport shoes that can’t be polish, so I said no. He was not bothering me anymore
(for that moment). I turned into one of the side streets, where it was quieter. The streets
contain many beautiful old building in Dali style. There were not many tourists here and
people just lived here in a traditional way. A saw the East Gate in a distance, but I didn’t
want to go outside the old city walls. I turned right into the next street parallel to the main
street. Soon a heavily armed soldier stopped me and pointed me back. Disappointed I
walked back and went through the east gate outside the city wall. I had to walk for about
2 kilometer when I finally arrived at the South Gate.

                                            South Gate at Dali

For a small fee I climbed the South gate tower and walked for a short time over the old
city wall. From here I had a wonderful view over the surrounding and the courtyards.
From a whole day walking I was in the mood for some cold glass of beer. I knew that
there are some street bars near our hotel in the foreigner street.When I passed the
crossroad near our hotel, the same guy asked me for a shoeshine again. I sighed and let
him know I didn’t want that. I stopped at a place with a view of the street and ordered
some beer. I enjoyed looking around. Shortly after a nipped my beer, a Chinese student
asked me if I could speak English. I told him that I only could speak a little bit.
He wanted to improve his English with me and want to speak with me. I didn’t mind that
and I asked him if he also wanted to drink something. But he didn’t want to drink
anything. Together we talked about the difference, but also the similarity of Chinese and
Western culture. It was a nice and interesting meeting, but after one beer it was time to
meet up with my wife and her mom again. The student helped me to pay my beer, say
farewell and gone he was. I also stood up and walked back to the hotel. Again I had to
pass the crossroad. Guess what… Yeah, that shoeshine man begged again. Probably
he didn’t have a good memory.
Back in the hotel I found out that the women were not back yet. So I just lie down on bed
and fell asleep. One hour later the women arrived with bags full of souvenirs. We
refreshed ourselves a bit and than went out again for diner. Earlier that day our guide
showed us the restaurant where we could go inside for diner. Again we sat at the first
floor and after a short time waiting the several dishes arrived. The diner didn’t taste very
well. It contains mostly of vegetarian food, which I don’t like. Outside we could smell the
smoke of the BBQ’s on the street, which made us jealous. After diner we walked through
the main street one more time. Everywhere there were red lanterns and music. During
our trip in China we heard much traditional Chinese music. So we decided to look for
some CD’s. Sadly we didn’t find one CD, with different kinds of instruments like the
Guzheng and the Erhu. The sound of those instruments I like very much.We only saw
some double CD’s with number from only the same instrument. We liked the music, but
the price was too high to buy all four CD’s. My mother in law started to bargain hard and
in the end we bought all CD’s for 1/3 of the original price. Happily we walked back to our
hotel and went to bed.

    Relative Links:
    A Letter from our customer(birding tour)
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 7
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 6
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 5
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 4
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 3
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 2
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 1
    A Group From USA
    Marty from USA
    Helen Dierker from USA
    Liz Parish from USA
    Pat McClintock From USA
    Caroline From USA
    Barbara From USA
    peter & susanne from Switzerland
    Frank and Carolyn from Florida
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