When you think of Lijiang, you think of vanilla milkshakes, thousands of tourists and KTV. But you know what? I really liked it. Although this place is really touristy, I enjoyed being able to sit down in a cafe and eat banana pancakes for breakfast and listen to Jack Johnson- it really was a treat.
If you come to Lijiang for nothing else, the scenery here is enough to draw even the most sceptical of people from across the world. From small villages, rice paddies and sky high mountains, Lijiang has it all. On my first day Lijiang after sending a package back home and soaking up some of the atmosphere of the old town, I wandered up to the Black Dragon Pool Lake for one of China's most iconic shots. Check out my photo :-) it was a beautiful time of year to go; the flowers were blooming and the sweet fresh scent carried across the peaceful park adding the laid back nature of the park.
While walking home I stopped by the 'Through the Window Cafe', which was run by and incredibly friendly New Zealander- who happened to have salsa classes that evening. We sat and chatted
with some friends of his for most of the afternoon, and I agreed that I'd come back for the salsa lessons that night.
I picked up some interesting food on the way home for dinner, got dressed and headed back to the cafe for salsa lessons.
The salsa was great fun! There was one Chinese girl there, a Russian girl and myself. We danced that night, in Lijiang sharing our cultures while learning Salsa. This experience really was great, and I couldn't believe how many new people I'd met on just my first day here.
The second day I took a tour to the Tiger Leaping Gorge. There were 3 other foreigners on the tour, and none of them could speak Chinese- even though the whole tour was in Chinese. We managed to get there anyway, and I helped them a little with some translation.
The Gorge itself is incredible to watch- the Yangzi River is the largest river in China, and it was incredible to see how the mountains engulfed the Gorge in an incredible act of nature.
The ride to the Gorge was very bumpy and there was a traffic jam on the
road where we stuck behind perhaps 30 cars and trucks on a one way dirt road, so that resulted in us sitting there for a half an hour.
When the tour finished two of the other foreigners were very upset and disappointed with the tour because they needed to be dropped back at another destination, which they had paid for, but instead they did not get dropped of there. This resulted in me having to be a translator for the two and dealing with the irritable tour guide who was determined to tell them that it wasn't his fault. I was so nervous, I'd never had to translate for such a situation before- but although they were still disappointed, they decided to repay me by buying me dinner- which was very nice of them 😊
I bid farewell to the lovely people at the Hostel the next morning to set off for Shangri-la to begin new adventures in this cold Tibetan city.
It was nice to have a bit of a break and to just relax and walk around Lijiang, and I think that’s why I really enjoyed it because the rest of my journey has just
been full on- and I think it will continue to be in Shnagri-la/Zhongdian. 😊
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