Monday, September 22, 2008

Dali (also known as five hours)

About 24 hours after arriving in Lijiang it was already time to say goodbye and so Jon and I jumped onto a bus and made the four hour trip to Dali where we hoped to spend the day and take a bus back to Kunming late that night. We arrived in Dali around noon and went to buy bus tickets but as luck would have it the only thing available was in just a few hours. We didn't really have a choice because we were flying from Kunming to Chengdu the next morning and so obviously we needed to get back. We bought the bus tickets rented some bicycles and headed out to see as much as possible as fast as possible.

As you should know I have a bicycle here in Handan that I ride everywhere. It is by far my main means of transportation and I love it. The bike has helped me to get in better shape and makes everything so convenient, plus it is way better for the earth than a car. When we rented bicycles in Dali I figured it would make getting around the city as easy as it makes things in Handan ... what I didn't account for was the fact that these were real bicycles with gears and everything and there were hills all over the city that made things more of a challenge. My out-of-shape butt was complaining after about thirty seconds, but I digress.

Jon and I made our way to the famous three pagodas of Dali, which were really beautiful with the mountains in the background, but when we saw the admission price of 121 kuai we decided to take a pass on actually going onto the grounds. Instead we ended up sneaking into the tourist center and taking a picture out the window.

After that Jon and I split up to do our own exploring around town. I cruised through the streets of the village, past all the local shops and just had a look around before it was time to meet up, give the bikes back and get ready to leave. We grabbed dinner at an awesome cafe that was run by the hearing impaired, jumped in a van that took us to the bus station and then boarded the bus for the four hour trip back to Kunming.

All in all Dali was cool, but I liked Lijiang better.

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