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Bai Kingdom World

CHINA | Thursday, 16 October 2008 | Views [863]

My second day in Dali ended up completely different than I expected. I was planning on just chilling out here (its a pretty chill place, and the hostel I am at, The Jade Emu, is lovely). So I went to the main street for breakfast (a good pancake and excellent cub of yunnan red tea) and was approached by this older local guy (who did not speak english) who showed me photos of cormorent fishing. I was eating, so he waited for me to finish. We then agreed on a price ($15) and I went off with him in a taxi to the docks. Him and this other guy (who also did not speak english) and I got on a row boat with 6 birds. First they tied some string around the necks of the birds so they could not smallow the fish that they caught, and finally we went off in the boat. I was not totally sure I wanted to be there since I needed to go to the bathroom (I should have done that after breakfast...), the water smelled bad, and who knows I have nightmare of getting mugged in a boat, with my passport and photos and everything on me, in the middle of the lake. For whatever reason, I found this much scarier than climbing up the latter out of Tiger Leapoing Gorge since I feel very vulnerable there. Anyway, nothing bad happened. The birds caught a few small fish (we thru them back), and the two guys were great and took a lot of photos with me and I had a blast.

After that adventure I decided to walk to see the site of the famous 3 pagodas of Dali. I didn't really know what to expect. So I walked in the general direction of the pagotas. I quickly got out of the "foreigner's" neighborhood, and a few blocks away I found an outdoor market with lots of great produce. Eventually I saw a pagota, but endded up walking all the way around this huge walled complex until I finally found the  entrance.  I paid the $18 entry (very expensive), just expecting to take some good photos of the pagotas. I did not expect the amzing collection of  recently built temples (built around 5 years ago, in some mishmash style, with lots of statues of budda and gods and friends) that I  found with great views of the mountains. There is also a small museum of tang dinasty relics from the Dali area.

I should mention Dali's setting. Its up against a cascade of mountains which are pretty stunning since the clouds are typically dancing among the peaks. At the other side, but much less impressive, is a very large lake. Even the main city is built martially into the foothills of the mountains. Its very pretty.

For lunch I had my 3'rd straight great meal in Dali (a fish from the lake). I liked the food here so much (I think Yunnan has great produce)I decided to stay in Dali 1 day more than I orignally planned. Finally I had a chill afternoon, and just walked around and had a 50 minute massage ($9).

Tags: dali

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