Friday, November 30, 2007

Lijiang

On the bus to Lijiang I noticed a lot of the ladies seemed to be wearing some type of traditional clothes. The stewardess type ladies on the bus were also wearing traditional Naxi clothes but this was really for the tourist but the ladies I could see out the bus window seemed to be wearing them for their everyday task like working in the field. I did not notice anything really special about the men's clothes but that may be because the Naxi are a matriarchal type of society. I forgot to say that the Naxi are another of the Chinese minority groups and Lijiang is sort of their capital city. Here is a picture of one of the ladies in what appears to be traditional clothes.



They have this type of cape thing on there back and this is a type of padding for the baskets that they carry on their back. Some of the ladies do not seem to be able to stand up straight and I think this is from years and years of carrying they baskets around.

The first full day in Lijiang I spent just walking around and enjoying the city. I went to the Black Dragon Pool Park which also has the Dongba Research Institute which studies the Naxi culture. I talked to a gentleman in the institute that was thrilled to show off his Dutch when I told him I lived in Holland and said to me(good morning, good afternoon and good evening) in Dutch. He had learned this from a Dutch friend that was going to school learning Chinese. The gentleman also told me about the Naxi writing which is part of the stuff that the institute is studying. It is the only hieroglyphic type of language that is still in use.

The Black Dragon Pool Park was really pretty and the great thing about the Yunnan providence is that is does not seem to suffer from the haze that I have seemed to have an issue with in most of China. Here is a picture of the pool.



The guesthouse that I stayed at was small but really friendly even though there was only one person that spoke English. There were 2 young Naxi girls that worked there and one wore the traditional dress but the other one had a birthday one day while I was staying there. I don't know why but I got a free meal with them for the girls birthday and a piece of her cake. They also sang happy birthday in Chinese that went to the same tune as the happy birthday I know. The girls were trying to learn English so I gave away my Chinese/English dictionary as a birthday present. I'm sure she will get more use out of it than I ever did.

I decided to go to Dragon Snow Moutain or Yulong Xueshan the second day in Lijang. The book talked about a public bus to get to the cable car but what I found was a minivan that would take me there. I am sure I paid over twice as much as the Chinese people in the minivan but I made it there and back without a problem other than having that screwed over feeling. After buying the ticket for the cable car there was a sign saying to wait your turn before going into the place to catch the bus to the cable car. I could never understand the annoucement even with them being sort of in English so each time I would hear and annoucement I would go over and try to enter. Each time I was told I need to wait. I finnally set down and then after no annoucment the lady that sent me away a number of times was waving to me like didn't you hear it is your turn. I seem to always be lost when it come to waiting my turn.

I made it to the top of the cable car at about 4500 meters but there were stairs up to the highest point of 4680 meters. It was a bit of work going up the stairs at that altitude but I found all of the Chinese with the oxgen bottle a little bit funny. I made it to the top and took a few pictures along the way with people whenever I would stop to rest. When I got to the top and ask someone to take my picture at the 4680 sign they ask to have a picture with me. I said yes and the sort of line formed and I had my picture taken with about 30 different people.



It really is a pretty mountain and I will try and post some more pictures on my site later.

I rented a bike and rode to a smaller village about 12 Kilometers from Lijiang one day. The bike I rented did not have gears and the seat was way to low for me but I did make it to the village and back with only a little bit of walking up hills. The name of the Village was Baisha and there was a temple in the village by the same name. On coming out of the temple there were a bunch of old Naxi women doing some sort of a dance. I think it was for a car with some people in it but the women kept dancing as the car drove off and I took a few pictures.



The last full day in Lijiang I booked a tour to go see Tiger Leaping Gorge. The first stop the bus made was at what I think they call the 1st turn of the Yangzi River. There were boats there and I decided what the heck and paid for and took the 18K ride down the river on one of these rubber boats. Other than every time they would stop the place where I had my foot would fill up with really cold water it was a fun little boat ride.



After the boat ride and stopping one place to try and sell us stuff we stopped for lunch. I enjoy these tour lunches because it is Chinese style where about 8 people set around a table and there are about 8 different dishes. I like getting to try all of the different dishes without having to go through the headache of trying to order and the Chinese people that I always seem to set with make sure I have plenty to eat.

After lunch we went to a part of Tiger Leaping Gorge. It has a walk way cut into the side of the gorge for about 2 kilometer. The river drops a hundred meters in the distance so the water is really moving. The path also has tunnels that goes through a part of the mountain and there are signs and guys to warn you about falling rocks. Not all of the guys would be much help since a couple were catching up on their sleep. I was very impressed with the gorge but was glad I did not try and do the 2 day walk of the gorge that most independent travelers do.

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