Eight hundred years ago, Lijiang was a major stop on a tea trading route. Now it's a major stop on the tourist trail ... and for good reason. Walking into the northern part of the old town, I was struck with the thought "Man, there are a lot of tourists here." Flags and umbrellas waved by tour operators led small throngs of Chinese tourists like a mother duck doting on her brood. The main entrance into the old city has two enormous, and much out-of-place, waterwheels slowly turning in a stream running beneath the road at the top of the town. The water in the stream looks quite clear and has numerous goldfish.
I knew there were some hotels along the east side of the hill. I walked into the first one I saw to inquire as to the price of a room. The entrance led into a central courtyard surrounded by two floors of rooms. The rooms faced into the central common square.
no idea what to do with it. Had I a clue as to how to eat it, I might have, but didn't really want to. Fortunately one of the elders took pity on me, grabbed the food from my hand and gave me a bowl of rice and greens.
I picked from numerous dishes on the table. It was simple fare, but generally good. The owner/manager of the hotel delighted in dropping things into my bowl. I could identify only a few things but far too many consisted of fish with numerous bones. I had nowhere to put the bones so my bowl was half food and half discards on top of rice. It was then that someone decided I needed to try the soup and just poured it over the whole mess in my bowl.
It was tough getting a good shot of the scene with the mountain in the background. I was able, however, to get a few good shots of locals at play.
After a couple of extra chilly mornings, I thought it high time to buy something to make me warm. Despite the number of shops in the city, not a one of them sold sweaters. I did find a place that made yak vests, but none fit me.
The local market had plenty of jackets to choose from, but most were either much too small or much too ugly. I had an option to pick up a Patagonia parka at a huge discount, but I really didn't need something so insulating (especially given the fact that I have a closet full of cold weather gear). What I really wanted was a down vest, something to take the chill off. I had to settle on a light jacket that cost me around twenty dollars. I hated buying it, but must admit that my mood improved considerably once I put it on and warmed up. I still didn't like the cold, though.
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