We crossed into China, a day late due to Christi's food poisoning, and spent several days, and a night, taking buses north until we finally stopped to relax in Dali. Then we moved on to Lijiang, which is near the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Supposed to be really beautiful there. We'll see... as we'll be there Jan 11-14 or so.
Here is the route we have taken since leaving Phoenix in November. We started in Bangkok, Thailand, and have made our way north until reaching Dali, where we are currently relaxing and eating large Chinese dinners.
This marks our route in China. The blue line shows where we've been - not very far! The dotted yellow lines show where we are thinking we might head - making our way through Chengdu to Beijing, then around Mongolia, then back through China to go to Tibet. Currently, we are in Lijiang -- the circled spot.
On what was to be our last day in Laos, we rented a motorbike to tool around the area. There's not much traffic there - I think gas (~$1/liter) is really unaffordable for the people.
Here is Christi, pretty in pink, ready for the ride. Later that day she will eat something that will make her violently ill, causing us to overstay our visa by one day. Fun!
We took a "sleeper" bus to Kunming - you get a bunk that is 1' by 5' with a blanket and pillow. We had the top bunks in the back of the bus - hanging on for dear life replaced any possible sleeping. Here is Christi, very glad to have finally made it to Kunming and be off that bus. Note: she is holding the utterly useless Lonely Planet China guidebook - a fake, photocopied version bought in Laos for $3.
Old meets new - Kunming is a thriving modern metropolis, but here is a little piece of old China right in the middle of town.
We left Kunming and headed for Dali, a restored "old" city, complete with cobble-stoned streets, horse carts, and a wall that surrounds the city. Here is the top of one of the city gates at night, taken from the top of our hotel.
The "supermarket" of Dali. This market changes locations every day, so that all the local tribal people can buy goods once a week. The women where baskets on their backs to carry their purchased items, similar to a shopping cart at Safeway.
In Lijiang, we ran into a Naxi (local tribe group in this area) in front of Mao Square doing some tradtional dancing ...in front of Mr. Mao (statue of Mao on right).
Here's a video of the gals dancing the traditional Naxi dance.
Christi was impressed with Chairman Mao. A new Commie convert?
We walked further, exploring Lijiang, and came across the Black Pool Park, which has this "Shangri-La-ish" view. We felt at peace...
In the Old Town of Lijiang, Christi finds peace over a stone bridge a couple of hundred years old. No, I don't think she's a Commie. Still has some sense of spirituality in her.