Monthly Archives: April 2012

Dali, Shangri La, Lijiang and Kunming

A very long journey from Chengdu to Dali. The train went along river gorges and then I got to Panzhihua at 4 am and a taxi took me to the bus station about 8 miles away. It was very dark and I had to wait for an 8 am bus. I was able to text with Jordan while I was waiting. That helped.

The bus took me to Dali and I found another great hostel.  I got a dorm bed and my room mate, Pierre Y. Robert, was from Montreal. We went to the old town of Dali which is beautiful but has so many tourists, mostly Chinese. The hostel is up at the base of very high mountains. The Chinese build beautiful stone buildings, and now they are building very high concrete apartments and offices in all parts of the country.

My 3 days in Dali were easy.. Dinners with some nice people and plenty of walking.

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One day I walked down through the town and down to the lake. The walk took me through rice fields and plenty of fields of vegetables. I felt a little guilty seeing the old people working so hard and I am just walking around this world. When I got to the lake I saw some ladies selling some food. I got some nice potatoes and two little fish on sticks.

I caught a local bus for a 7+ hour ride from hell up into the mountains to the city of Shangri-La. This is more of a Tibetan city than a Chinese one.

I bought a ticket from Dali to Shangrila on a nice bus but it was full when it got to me..they put me on a local bus which was very bumpy and around half the way there the driver wanted $5.00 from me. I told him I had paid for the whole trip. He stopped the bus for 15 minutes. I gave him my hostel card where I bought the ticket. He was yelling for a half an hour. I got there and did not pay the extra he wanted from me.

We were now up over 10,000 feet and it was very cold, but little rain. My hostel was run by a Korean and there were Korean guests. The nice thing about this tourist town was the night dancing by many older people.  They dance in a circle for hours. I guess it helps them keep warm. I visited an ancient monastery which had 1,500 monks at one time.  Now just a few hundred live there.

I got up the courage to walk up to the chicken temple which overlooks Shangri-La. I am very lucky to be able to still climb these hills, especially considering these altitudes.

The bus ride to Lijiang was very nice. This place is a very large Chinese tourist destination. You can not imagine the stores, eating places and hotels here. The old town was made up of stone buildings, canals and stone bridges. Now it is a place for the Chinese to shop, eat, drink and have a good time.

Before I left Lijiang, I was lucky to go out to eat with my Chinese dorm mates. I even got up and played and sang some songs at a little bar.

I got a 8 hr. train ride to Kunming with a nice Chinese lady from north east China. We had dinner and walked around the inner city and Now off to Beijing…

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Chengdu and.South

Chengdu is another large Chinese City located in the middle of China in Sechuan Province. It has way too many people, traffic and noise. I checked into Sims Hostel and had a private room on the 5th floor. Great wifi, a good place to eat and filled with international backpackers.

The first night I went to a Chinese variety show. Again a couple of Chinese Opera scenes. A guy with a puppet, a Chinese violin and horn solo, a comedy act, dancing and a fake sword fight. It was like watching the Ed Sullivan Show.

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I went to see China’s largest panda breeding operation. The panda’s are beautiful, they just sit around eating bamboo.

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I went with a great group of people to see China’s largest Buddha statue in Leshan.

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The foot of the giant Leshan Buddha

Our group went out to eat together when we got back. My friends from Israel found a great noodle place to eat dinner. We got to see a young man make the noodles which we ate. They were the best noodles I have ever had.

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I bought a train ticket to Dali and I will also need to take a couple of busses to get there. Nothing is that easy but having a great time in China.

They are having a building boom here. So many very tall apartments and offices are going up. It really is amazing to see all of these new buildings.

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Manila to Beijing

3 April 2012..What a day this was. Up at 3 am,  a taxi to the airport, another taxi to the right terminal, a long wait to get on the plane,  a very bumpy ride and then. ..Beijing, China. We came in near some very high mountains and I could see the Great Wall going along the top of the mountains.

It was tough saying goodbye to Thea last night.  I was very happy there.  She took me to see the Hungry Games at the downtown mall and to the Palm Sunday mass at her church.  I will never forget the packed church with people waving their palms to cool  the place off.  We had such great dinners together. .. I hated to end my time there.. .

I am sure I will also enjoy “Red China”. So far so good. I am in a great hostel near the walls of the Forbidden City. The first night I went to see the Beijing Opera.  It was very good but I was so tired I almost fell asleep.

Second day I got on a bus and visited an upscale shopping area.  Saw a 3D movie.. the Wrath of the God’s.  Good movie,  very loud,  poor 3D effects but costly. .$20!!!!

Beijing is expensive.. leaving in 5 days.  Tonight I am attending an Acrobatic Show. I am lucky to see people perform who seem to have superhuman abilities.

I got to Tiananmen Square and saw the body of Chairman Mao.

A day on the Great Wall. .

I really am in shape.. the 4 mile walk on the wall was almost easy,  some of the younger kids were having a tough time with the wall.

I also visited the Forbidden City. More to see here will be back at the end of April.

My China trip has started off excellently .. Off to Xi’an Sunday night in the overnight train.