This morning we took a very long bus ride, about 6 hours, to Dali. We started at 8am, stopped for lunch around noon, and then got to Dali around 4pm. Nearly everyone on the bus was dead before lunch because they had been out clubbing the night before. After we arrived at Dali we checked into our hotel and dropped off our luggage. Note to self: next time, bring a carry-on bag with WHEELS. The duffel bag that I bought the day before for this excursion was heavy with a week’s worth of clothes among other items, and it was cumbersome carrying it all the way to the hotel. Perhaps not having limp noodles for arms would have also helped.
We ventured out into the streets of the older, historical part of Dali, only to be surrounded by shops. There were stores everywhere. We were all excited to go exploring, but we did not really know what there was to see in Dali except for what the guidebook told us, such as the Three Pagodas, but we did not have enough time before dinner to go find them. Instead, we all went around and shopped. Ananthi
Across the Street
After getting off of the bus
and I bought so many souvenirs for everyone, mostly in the forms of clothes and tapestries.
Sometime before dinner we got separated from Ananthi, but luckily Lewis had Ananthi’s cell phone number and was able to call her. When she got separated from us, she got very lost and ended up having to take a cab back to where we were. We were all amazed at how she could have possibly wandered off so far when most of historical Dali was one very wide and long straight road. Together again, we found a street full of what we called “housetaurants” and had dinner in one of them. Basically these were all the homes of people, however they would have raw food laid out in front of their houses. You would choose what food you would like to have for dinner and then they would cook it for you. In the meantime you would enter their home and have dinner either in the living room or a separate dining room renovated to look somewhat like a restaurant dining room. It was an interesting experience because next door to the dining room we ate in were the bedrooms of the
Our Hotel Room
We were at the very end of the stone corridor that consisted of the hallway. It was dark and cold down there.
family that managed the housetaurant.
The food was delicious, but unfortunately at one point this huge mosquito-eating fly found its way into our soup. Ananthi and I stopped eating the soup after that, however everyone else seemed fine with continuing to eat the soup after the fly was removed. After dinner we went to a pagoda nearby and paid a few 元 to go upstairs and see the view. The streets seemed to sparkle at night and I enjoyed sitting up there and watching the people below. From a green-lit building in the distance we could hear someone belting out a loud karaoke song. Sitting up there was a nice break from all the hustle and bustle of shopping and bargaining. It also gave me time to reflect on the fact that I did not like Dali all that much.
What I saw of the city looked pretty, similar to Kunming, but the older, historical part of Dali catered to tourists too much in my opinion. I understand that tourism is an important part of Dali’s economy, but in the end I think the tourism might have ruined the experience for me. Rather than learning more
Outside of the Hotel Rooms
The hotel rooms opened up to this garden in the middle of the hotel grounds.
about Dali’s history and culture, I learned how to bargain for pashmina scarves. The historical part of Dali was simply full of shops along every street. Even the pagoda we visited was full of shops on the first floor. They even had an entire street of the historical section dedicated to foreigners and foreign food. I felt that while the shops and buildings had the historical look of Dali, they told me nothing about Dali’s history.
Looking back on it now that the excursion is over, I feel that, unfortunately, Dali was the most disappointing part of the excursion. However, to end this entry on a less sad note, I had the most delicious peach smoothie I have ever had in one of Dali’s smoothie shops. Ananthi got tiramisu ice cream which for some reason looked purple in the picture but was actually brown when she received the ice cream. The others got pineapple juice and smoothies and we tried each other’s drinks. They voted that my drink tasted the best though. Yay for my favorite fruit!
That evening they were playing a World Cup game that Ananthi and I wanted to see, but it was
at 2:30am. In order to stay up, we decided to watch Sherlock Holmes, the new movie, on my laptop. Both Ananthi and I have seen that movie multiple times and just love it every time because we always see something new or have trouble remembering all the clues of the case. We are also big fans of the hilarious acting between Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson. After the movie we each took showers and then the game started. Unfortunately, about five minutes into the game we both started falling asleep. Fifteen minutes later Ananthi was asleep and I was dozing off. I eventually fell asleep but periodically woke up. I woke up in the last five minutes to watch the team that I was rooting for lose, so I switched off the TV and immediately fell asleep.
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