Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Delicious Dali

Dali was a 7 hour bus ride north of Kunming. The bus was full of Chinese middle class tourists. I watched the rolling hills and farmland pass by my window. Yunan is gorgeous and I was thankful I had started my journey here. The man sitting next to me spoke good English and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with me. When we stopped for a lunch break, he introduced me to his family. We enjoyed a fried rice with vegetables and he shared their vacation plans with me. I posed for pictures before we loaded back onto the bus. He continued to explain how China had changed in the last five years. He and his family had more money and were able to vacation and ensure his daughter would have a good education. When the bus arrived in Dali City, he asked if I would like help getting a taxi to my hotel. I thanked him and showed him the note the Upland Hostel had written for me. He laughed and told me I was a smart girl for having a note prepared. His family waved goodbye as I gathered my bags and went to find a taxi. 

Entrance to Dali
Old Town Dali is a walled ancient city set in the foothills if the Cangshan mountains and the shores of Erhai Lake. The taxi entered the city trough the city wall and stopped in front of the International Youth Hostel. I had quick check in and was taken to the all female dorm. The woman opened the door and I knew I was not going to like this stay. I felt like I was back in a college dorm room. There were clothes and garbage everywhere. Shoes were strewn in the middle of the floor. I told her this was not acceptable. I could not live this way. She assured me this was because 4 girls had checked out of the room and it was not cleaned yet. Ugh! I am too old for this childish mess. I asked if they had a single room available and was told no. I would have to pay 4 times the amount for a family room which was all that was available. I decided to buck it up and make due. I put my bags in the locker and freshened up. I was hoping it would be clean when I returned from exploring. 

Dali is a beautiful ancient city with weeping willows and cobblestone streets.

The streets were filled with shops and Chinese tourists. I explored the town and enjoyed the ancient city but was drawn in with the tastes if the city. As I walked the cobble stone streets, I sampled the street foods. Mmmm! I was most excited that cheese and yogurt were plentiful. As I have traveled SE Asia, one of the things I have missed is good cheese and wine. Yes, wine was also available but with a starting price of $30 USD, I was too cheap to indulge! But goat cheese...yummy! My first stop was grilled goat cheese with a plum sauce! HEAVENLY! I followed that with grilled tofu with spices. Then a wonderful mashed potato with vegetables.

I washed it all down with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. In the evening, I went to a local restaurant for the Yunan specialty bridge over noodles. The restaurant brought out a bowl of boiling hot broth, chicken slivers, noodles and fresh vegetables. You throw it all in and let it cook. For dessert I had a walnut cake with homemade ice cream. I knew I would need to workout in the morning! But it was all delicious!  A few hours later, I paid for it. Something made me sick. Another bad case of food poisoning or a bad case of lactose intolerance! Ugh! I am not sure which but it was a rough 24 hours. My stomach issues combined with the pool table noise was too much for me to tolerate the dorm room any longer. I moved to a private room in the morning. What bothered me with the pool table? In my week in China, I have realized the balls do not stay on the table. Every few minutes a ball hit the floor or worse, my door. Ha ha! It really is annoying. I think the hostels should change to ping pong tables. It would be less annoying. Ha ha!
Even though I was sick, I forced myself to see the city. I explored the city and the wall. As I walked the wall, I was stopped numerous times for photos with the Chinese. Sometimes it was just a woman other times the whole family. It becomes a little difficult to get anywhere because one Chinese person starts it and then there are 20 waiting for a photo. I should charge 6 Yuan/photo and make a little profit.

As I wandered the city, I looked for ginger tea to settle my stomach. I met several other travelers that were also suffering from food poisoning. Come to find out, The power had been out for 12 hours the day before! Oh, well. That is life on the road. I would love to have a kitchen and some delicious organic food. A few more weeks and I will be in Bali enjoying the great food. Meanwhile, I will enjoy my time in China and try to stay healthy.

Dali was a nice little town. It reminded me of Hoi An, Vietnam. It had ancient buildings and delicious food in a beautiful setting.  This was one of the unusual sights, a man butchering a pig at a massage parlor. Well.......

I am leaving Dali and headed north to Lijiang. As I left, I took one last photo of this picturesque little town. Whew! Looks like I am leaving before the next storm arrives! 

No comments:

Post a Comment