Days 3-4, 7
The journey from Lijiang to Dali was our first Chinese bus ride. I’ve experienced some harrowing intra-city bus rides in far-flung places (a few rides through the Andes top the list of craziness) but Chinese drivers are something else, and the trip took us from 2400m, up over some serious mountains maybe topping out at 5000m, then down to ErHai lake and Dali area over the course of 3+ hours. Girlie’d not suffered a bus ride such as this, but wasn’t nearly as scared as the woman across the aisle, who was afraid the bus driver would notice her toddler had made quite a wet spot on the upholstery. she was TERRIFIED.
We actually spent 2 days in Dali, then sped off to Shuanglong, then back to Dali. But let’s just cover Dali all at once, shall we? OK? OK. This is just outside of the Bird Bar, who were our gracious hosts in our stays in Dali. Not that our pad in Lijiang was bad, but thanks to Pat from Flying Turtle Coffee, we got friend prices and felt really at home there. Oh, and Pat taught them how to make bagels.Dali’s old town is still a tourist area, but nothing at all close to what we saw in Lijiang. On the flip-side, all the hippies are in Dali. I’m not categorically against hippies…. ok, yes I am. Anyway, we had our first amazing food of the trip our first night in Dali, eating with some (hippie) friends of Pat at a local spot. They carried the low table, laden with food, onto the sidewalk. We ate the “most common local dish,” Erhai lake small fish in spicy soup. Well “ate” is a strong word — I coughed through a bite or two and Girlie wisely steered clear. Our new Dali friends argued for the rest of the meal over how spicy the dish was. They have a fun spicyness scale I will be using from here on out: 碗米饭 (bowls of rice). The Spicier, the more bowls of rice you need. The fish dish was between 3 and 6 bowls of rice, which, our friends said, is damn spicy.
Walking around Dali, we discovered some fun things. Every house has great art in the Eaves. We found out later it’s required by the housing authority, but they sure are pretty.Then there was the CHVNK bike, which reminded me of college, and tall bikes.There was CornMountain ViewsHead injuries from low hanging beef
Large community markets
Up Next: Part 3: Shuanglong