Tuesday, August 5, 2014

China trip 2 - Dali

We flew south to Yunnan province which borders Burma/Lao/Vietnam and is home to many of the minority peoples in China. Yunnan also borders Tibet, so a trip up towards Tibet was obligatory. Jean and her extended family had been hanging out in the capital city of Kunming for the previous month or so. Kunming is at about the same altitude as Boulder and is one of the more livable cities in China - nice weather, not too hot in the summer, dry climate except for the rainy season which happened to be the same time as our visit!

We rented a huge van - there was a seat for each one of us and each piece of luggage too! We drove up to Dali, Lijiang and then Shangrila.

The kids got along great, especially Leo and Hugo, who climbed around on the seats and did headstands in the van.

Of all the places we visited, we liked Dali the best. It was funky, with a great night market, and lots of Chinese musicians playing in the streets. Lots of artsy stuff to buy and pretty unique. I think all of us agreed we could have spent many more nights there. I wish I had a picture of the amazing grilled squid guy. Makes me drool just thinking about it.

We stayed at Jim's Tibetan Guest House, just outside the old town. It was perfect, about 400 Y for a suite with two rooms and three beds. Jim's father had been sent from Tibet to Yunnan during the Cultural Revolution.

Dinner in Dali was awesome! Select your own meats to grill or veggies to stir fry:

Yunnan cities often had streams running down their streets:

We did eat some fried grasshoppers and cocoons, courtesy of Jean, but we didn't have any of the bug street food like these dragonfly nymphs:

The big attraction was the bicycle-powered cotton candy guy:

Feet get super icky in China - all those squat toilets don't help. The solution? Fish! Here we are getting our feet cleaned by fish. 50 Y for 30 minutes of foot cleaning.

Does it hurt? Well, most of the fish are pretty small. But some are monstrous! Yeah that's me screaming. It's super ticklish.

Keeping the kids going while on tour is difficult. They have zero appetite for historical sites. So occasionally we have to do things like this horse cart ride:

We took a boat ride to Erhai Lake near Dali to see the Cormorant fishing. In old China, they put rings around the Cormorant's necks and had the birds catch fish. We had a big debate over whether this was staged or not but the show was pretty good:

And they did catch a fish in any case:

Leo and Hugo at Erhai Lake

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