丽江 Lijiang

We arrived in Lijiang on the late side; some time after midnight we arrived at the Garden Inn. The Garden Inn was located near the outskirts in the old town of Lijiang. 
Lijiang is located in the northwest part of Yunnan (云南) province. It is home to the Naxi people, one of the fifty-five minority groups of China (there are 56 nationalities). Lijiang’s old town, with its cobblestone streets, gurgling streams, and Naxi architecture, preserves a modicum of traditional ways, but more and more of the merchants are Han (the major nationality), challenging the Naxi way of life. Unbeknownst to us, Lijiang recently began charging visitors 80元 to enter old town. Interesting, since I now recall seeing signs reminding tourists of something of the sort. If in fact, this was enforced (like other policies and regulations in China), we would have paid a pretty penny, considering we exited and entered old town on several occasions.   
The following day our morning was spent trying to get train tickets (火车票) to Kunming (昆明). We were sent to a ticketing office in new town, with little results. We were whisked off to the long-distance bus station, a rather seedy and bleak place. Due to the fact that there were no train tickets available from Lijiang to Kunming, at least as was told to us by the new town ticketing office, we purchased bus tickets. A sleeper bus to be more precise (I will get to that experience later). We also visited the Lijiang train station (火车站) to attempt to buy tickets for our journey from Kunming (昆明) to Guilin (桂林). Our attempt was successful, and I might add I was rather proud of myself, because I only spoke Chinese with the ticket seller. After all that “[máfan] 麻烦,” we ventured around the old town of Lijiang for the remainder of the day.
On our final day in Lijiang we visited the Wangu Pagoda (万古楼), well at least the entrance. We ultimately decided the entrance fee wasn’t worth it. From the entrance, we still had some rather nice views of old town. Again, we wandered around old town and snacked on some delicious and unfortunately, some vile snacks on snack street. Finally, we headed to the bus station for our “bus ride from hell,” as aptly named by Dee. The sleeper bus is complete with beds, beds for dwarves I might add. They were unbearably uncomfortable. In addition, the bus smelled like old gym socks and other unpleasant smells. At this point, I was very glad to have purchased a face mask for Deanna. The two of us wore our masks for the entire journey to Kunming. The bus also stopped for several hours in the middle of who knows where. The journey lasted several more hours than proposed, and we arrived in Kunming ready for a shower, more than anything else. 
old town Lijiang
Some of the many items available for purchase in the shops. Everything in Lijiang is overpriced, and the food is no exception. 
Bugs, anyone? 
If the picture above did not wet your appetite, perhaps this one will. Larvae, maggots, and some other unidentified bugs could delightfully be enjoyed. 
The cutest steamed buns: animals!
Chicken feet
Finally, something relatively normal! Lamb kebabs
Lotus root with some kind of stuffing that was somewhat reminiscent of  cheese. We enjoyed the kind on the left, as that was the non-spicy variety. 
Our hostel’s courtyard
Our room is just behind the closed door.
The washroom. Sinks outside, toilet and shower just beyond the door.
Garden Inn entrance 
Garden Inn courtyard
View from the entrance of Wangu Pagoda
When I was here in 2007, I snapped a photograph of a Chinese punk right in front of this water wheel. 
In a traditional Naxi courtyard
Crossing the bridge noodles (过桥米线)
This dish consists of a hot pot of steaming chicken broth to which you add thinly sliced chicken, pork, fish, other meats, vegetables, and rice noodles, all seasoned with peppers and chilies to taste. The oil on top keeps the simmering food hot enough. So according to legend, the dish was invented over a century ago by the wife of a scholar who discovered that a layer of oil on top of her husband’s food could keep it warm all the way from her kitchen across the bridge to a pavilion where he was studying for his imperial examinations, hence the dish’s name! 
Snack street
The Yu River which runs through the old town of Lijiang. If you ever get lost in old town, it is said you should just find a stream and walk against the current, as it will invariably lead you back to an entrance of the town. 
Naxi script is comprised of 1,400 pictographic characters. The language was created over 1,000 years ago and the Dongba, Naxi shamans, are the only ones who can read, write, and interpret the script.  
On the sleeper bus, the only sign in English. I must say I was surprised they even bothered to post this. Sleeper buses are infamous for pickpockets and other lowly characters. I didn’t sleep particularly well, in part because of this sign! 

One thought on “丽江 Lijiang

  1. Linda says:

    我很想你!
    Having a lot of all the pictures, the pretty things you saw and nice things experienced: I really get the feeling that I miss China AND of course I miss you!
    I hope that you are fine. I'm thinking about you a lot, my love!

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