Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lijiang, China

The ancient city of Lijiang is nestled in the  Yulong mountains. The old town is charming with cobblestone streets, canals and tiled roofs. I loved it! I wandered the streets and allowed myself to get lost in the maze. The city is a tourist attraction and there are shops selling souvenirs, tours and many restaurants. The city becomes enchanting when night falls and the old town is lit by the glow of lanterns.

I spent my days wandering the city and my evenings tasting the delicious food. Luckily, I had three days to enjoy the food. Lijiang baba (warm, buttery bread with chopped onions) was delicious with the Naxi noodle soup and a cold Snow beer on a rainy evening. The waitress said "no spice." I took a big slurp and was shocked! HOT! That was when I ordered the beer! It was a good kind of spicy- flavorful and spicy that brought a little tear to your eyes and cleared my sinuses. It was so good I had to keep eating it. Yum! I also tried some sort of dessert sold on the street. It was dry and covered with a sesame seeds and toffee . I did not like care for it. As I walked the city sampling foods, I found this sign. One of my favorites. Something was lost in the English translation because it did not sound appetizing.
18 Strange Well-filled roasted pieces of bait...hmmm.
I had booked a trip to Tiger Leaping gorge for my last day in Lijiang. I heard a knocking on my door that morning. It was the hotel telling me there were landslides from the rain and the trip was cancelled. Oh well. I would rather be safe than sorry. I don't want to get stuck in a landslide while hiking. I played with the idea of going to Snow Jade Mountain which is 18,000 ft. Hmmm. My asthma has been acting up with all of the cigarette smoke and cold weather. I read that they have oxygen tanks to rent. Should I go for it? No. I figured I would go to Lion Hill to get away from the people and think about it. I wanted to get some stair work in and this would work. It was a nice walk through old town along the canals and then up....up...up the hill. It was a nice little workout. I saw there were some trails and wandered around them.  I stopped to rest by some beautiful 500 year old Cyprus trees and decided it was a beautiful spot to enjoy and write this blog. Suddenly, I heard the clap of thunder. I knew a forest was the last place I wanted to be during a thunderstorm. I walked back to the beginning and found a tea shop to wait out the storm. I was sitting enjoying the Chinese guy singing Beatles and Rolling Stone songs. It was a relaxing way to spend a rainy afternoon. 

When I returned to my hostel, I sat down with a Danish family I had met at breakfast. They invited me to join them in a board game. It was a fun afternoon activity. Their kids (11 & 14 years old)  told me about their trip through China. The family had been taking trips to Asia for 4-6 weeks each year over the past 5 years. The kids were mature and articulate in telling me about their adventures and said they will never leave home as long as their parents keep taking them on these fantastic holidays Nama (14 year old daughter) explained how much she has changed since the trips started. When she was 9 years old she told her parents she wanted less things and more vacations. Her parents told how they decided then that they would make certain the children traveled the world. The have one family computer, 1 tv and 2 cars that are more than 10 years old. I told them I had decided I will never live the same way again. I have taken annual vacations and lived very well but this journey has changed how I will live when I return. I will live and save for my next RTW trip in 5-7 years and continue as long as I live. Travel inspires me and I am truly happy when I am exploring the world. Additionally, I have promised to take my nieces and nephews on a trip. I would love to teach them about travel and show them it is affordable. I would like them to see a world they never knew existed and to appreciate and respect our differences. I will give up some things when I return but will be easy because I want to travel like this again and again. 

My last day in Lijiang, I found this golden retriever. He obeyed English commands and I sat and petted him awhile. It caused people to take photos with us. Before I left, I commanded him to shake. That excited the Chinese and everyone wanted a turn. The problem was they wanted me to say "shake." I laughed. It was cute! 
Lijiang was an ancient city with beautiful canals and colorful vibrant people. 


  1. Michelle! I didn't know that you decided to travel the world. Boy, how exciting. When are you going to Bali? I may come join you ;-)

  2. Hi Caroline! Yes, I am enjoying a life as a nomad and I love every moment of it. Best and easiest decision I have ever made! I just left Bali on Sept 11. I am in Turkey now and traveling around for the next month. Then I will continue up to Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia....wherever. In December I will head to South America. Let me know where you want to meet! I would love it!

  3. Chute, I really wanted to met up for Bali. I've had a hard year medically speaking and needed some sun and relaxation. What are you hitting up in South America?

    1. Sorry! I hope you are feeling better and no issues. I loved Bali and highly recommend it. I want to go to Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and maybe Paraguay and Buenos Aires. Depends on money since it will be the end of the trip. I am meeting friends in Nicaragua so I may do Panama and Honduras while I am in the area. Ha ha! Fun of travel is no plans.