Day 4: Onward

Well we’re finally on our way to Lijiang. More regrets of course today as I continue to kick myself. I was thinking over night that perhaps we could have asked if we could carry on our luggage, and getting on the plane today there were whole rows empty we could have stashed our bags in.

Much like the other days we went out looking for breakfast which is truly my favorite meal of the day out here, and street food is king. Today we found what was sort of a restaurant near our shitty hotel in the middle of nowhere and got a bunch of dumplings and as usual they were quite good. In all we spent between the 3 of us around 5 yuan each, or less than $1 US.

We then wasted some time until our flight. I hate wasting time when on a trip like this. Such a shame. Elmar seems to have needed it though, he’s doing much better today than yesterday. I also took the opportunity to check facebook, update a journal entry, and check my email. The flight was reasonable though it took off a little late. But we’re now in Lijiang with a little bit of the evening to poke around town, the real visit starts tomorrow.

Landing I feel like half a world away from just this morning. Gone is the oppressive smog and heat, in it’s stead is beautiful mountain air and rain. We’re now at about 6,000 ft. Lijiang airport is 30km outside the city, and the city is more of what we think of as a city. It’s not some massive metropolitan area like everywhere else we’ve been. The air is clear. The airport is new and nice though small, we walked down a set of stairs to ground level, but it’s pleasant and I’m appreciating the smaller size. Going into town we have like 30 minutes along a dirt road, we’re finally out in the rural areas for the most part. Though it’s very clear that won’t last long, there is construction everywhere and the road we’re coming in on we joke will be paved by the time we fly out in 4 days time. I can’t imagine what this city will be like in 5 or 10 years. I’m really thankful I have the chance to see it before it changes forever in the name of progress. Will it be another Yangshuo? I hope not, I really like what they have now.

Because of our delay we had no hotel, but we started out looking for Ayu Thaya, our would be hotel from yesterday. We failed miserably. And then the rain started coming down hard. Elmar didn’t have an umbrella so when it was drizzling I let him borrow mine, but as it start to really come down I wanted to protect my camera so he had to buy one at a much elevated price. We gave up and headed to old town looking for this Zen Garden hotel that was expensive but seemed nice. We failed again. But hey, failure can be ok right? We ended up running into an American woman teaching english as part of some Yoga program and she helped us find a hostel sort of hotel? It’s really cute and cheap; around $17, can you imagine paying that in the states? I dig it so very much. We had dinner there and a number of drinks with the other people visiting. I love the atmosphere where everyone is there with the same goals and aspirations. It reminds me of cruising.

The hotel was one of the atrium style buildings that was probably at one point a large family residence. The rafters are low and I have to duck. The rooms are pleasant though, much more than I expected to get. We could use some laundry facilities and this guest house doesn’t provide any.

We met this old Dutch man going by the nick name ‘Nine-Oh’ (he didn’t tell us why that name) and he had some amazing stories to tell, really quite funny too. He’s lived all over including California. The hostess, a local Naxi girl spoke great English and was super helpful in helping us figure out our plans for the next couple days. Which right now is to not have plans. We plan to stay in Lijiang tomorrow, and hopefully the weather clears. If we feel we’ve done enough or have just 1 day left of stuff to do we might leave early the day after tomorrow for Shangri-la for a night and day, and then head back down on the 3rd and do a bit more in Lijiang before leaving early for Thailand.

As we left for our rooms ‘Nine-Oh’ was harassing the Naxi girls to smoke some pot with him. I’m not sure how he managed to find a connection in China, but the girls weren’t having any of it. He turned and offered me some, but really the last place you should smoke pot is China, I can’t imagine how a drug trial would go.

Anyway we’re in good spirits now, and the change of atmosphere has done wonders for that. Expect more pictures tomorrow.


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