Yunnan Province: Lijiang

I stayed in the old part of the city of Lijiang which was rebuilt after an earthquake destroyed much of it. Though touristy it's very pretty with cobblestone streets and creeks running around all the shops. Lijiang is the main centre of the Naxi people.

Matt, Shai and I experienced Naxi hospitality first hand when we were invited for dinner at a family home. We also attended a performance of Naxi classical music and met an old bloke who was apparently one of only two people still living who could still write in the pictographic Naxi script. As he explained what the pictograms meant I had to wonder if he was making some of it up but then who's going to argue with him?

Right: The old town of Lijiang.

old town

Several members of the Naxi orchestra were over the age of 80 and they cut very dignified figures even as one or two of them dozed off between numbers

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge ferry

The Ferryman, Tiger Leaping Gorge

Some ways out of Lijiang is the Tiger Leaping Gorge which I trekked over two days with Shai. Legend has it that a tiger once leaped across the gorge, at it's most narrow point, some thirty metres. In the gorge we also experienced tremendous hospitality. The area is occupied by a number of ethnicities including Tibetan and Naxi.

Leaving Lijiang I spent a night in Dali where some old ladies tried to sell me some ganja, a local cash crop. I didn't like Dali so much, it was heavily touristed with less of the charm of Lijiang. In Dali I made a crunch decision. The choices were to get the Laos visa and carry on through Laos into Vietnam or to head back to Hong Kong. At this stage I had grown weary of travelling and hotels so I just took the bus into Kunming and jumped on a two day sleeper train to Guangzhou and on into Hong Kong. Leaving Kunming someone slipped me a fake Y50 bill. Thank you for visiting China, do come back some time!