A very common discussion you hear while traveling in Yunnan among visitors is whether they prefer Dali or Lijiang and there is always defenders of both destinations. Here I would be a definite fan of Dali, cause whats going on in Lijiang is madness. It was all there, everything that has been promised to me: the meandering cobbled streets with oh so many channels, three pit wells, water wheels, flowers (cause it IS Yunnan!) and weeping willows to go with that. But besides this super charming formula there is just about a million of tourists to go with that. And impossible conditions are created. (Its not even possible to be alone on the streets in the early morning....to get good shots, cause all the photographers come out ...with the same goal). If the old town will keep it up, they might even fall off the UNESCO heritage list! ...for over commercialising the old town, building a fun park right next to it and some other things.
This enormous Chinese tourist crowd around me gave me a good chance to just observe Chinese as tourists. And I must say they are a kind of tourist that not only follows and takes
photos, but also spends and is willing to pay to have fun. So when their standard would get higher, I believe they would also make good customers elsewhere in the world (that is if by the raising of their standard they are also able to get rid of their bad spitting, burbing and "pushing ones way while in the crowd" habits).
Another thing for which Lijiang (as also Dali before) prooved to be a good study ground: A LESSON ON THE CHINESE ART OF POSING! Its a real torture for young men as they have to follow around their loved ones and shoot them in all possible "goddess" positions, giving the camera to unconfident girls for them to check whether the pose was good enough and whether they looked like the real goddess and doing it all over again until perfection. I saw some really poor fellows being pushed around Lijiang from morning till evening by their better halfs.
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