If the number of photos we took is any indication (over 700) we loved visiting Yunnan (south-west China).
The largest (and presumably heaviest) prayer wheel in China (above-leftt) is in Shangrila. We really enjoyed spending time here because it required a great deal of co-operation from numerous strangers to pull/push it around clockwise and it was a great deal of fun to be a part of it.
As with much of China, the march of modernism was evident with construction everywhere….
Everyone seemed to be in the process of upgrading their already large homes to these massive houses (the people in the foreground will give you an idea of the scale). Apparently the old models – with too few windows – were too dark.
The craftsmanship involved in building these mansions is incredible… perhaps that’s why so few of them were actually completed (from lack of labour). I thought that this was a stark contrast to the construction of many of the buildings of Shanghai which are kept together with layer upon layer of silicon (the repair ‘tool’ of excellence).
We’re going to blame the high altitude (3,200metres) for our struggle to climb stairs and ride bikes. The altitude was definitely the cause of us getting sunburned – we probably should have known better with the locals being so deeply tanned
Yak yogurt, yak hotpot, yak cheese (above) and of course yaks!
On our way to our next destination – Yuhu Village just north of Lijiang – we visited Baishui with it’s unusual mineral terraces and the dramatic Tiger Leaping Gorge.
….here is one of the dishes that we were served: courgette flower omelet….. delicious!
A friend in Shanghai had recommended a great B&B in Yuhu and we were not disappointed. It had been built (as was the whole village) in the local Naxi style – it was very cosy and familial…and the breakfast and dinners provided were delicious.
Fried dumplings with local goat’s cheese and vegetable filling.
The kids loved the horse riding around Yuhu and I loved walking in the mountains – despite getting a little lost.
Lijiang itself was touristic but very pretty. Below some women are washing their vegetables in a community water source. It was divided into three basins: one for drinking, one for washing vegetables and one for washing clothes – all still being used today.
We then headed to Xizhou just north of Dali. We were actually fortunate to arrive as our bus driver was not the most serious professional I’ve ever encountered: after a small accident (which meant waiting an hour for the police to arrive to the scene and then after that, a visit to the traffic authorities – presumably to make a declaration. I say ‘presumably’ because there was no attempt at explanation.) he smoked cigarettes under the no-smoking sign, made numerous phone calls and even stopped to buy his favorite snack along the way. Despite all of his behavior the most surprising thing to me was the behavior of the other travelers; rather than requesting explanations or shuffling in their seats, they were all busy sleeping, snacking or happily playing with their smart phones. Very zen.
The market in town was fabulous, as was the one in neighboring Dali. A few of the common staples in Yunnan appeared to be potatoes, mushrooms and my new found love in the kitchen……
… sichuan pepper. Below you can see it being dried on the side of the road (after sweeping it first as you can see in the background.)
Back to Shanghai – Despite it’s great size, China has only one time zone and so we really enjoyed having the sun rise and set later during our vacation.