So China has a lot of tourists…

14 Aug

Does it still count as cultural if you’re in a tourist town with lots of LOCAL tourists, rather than international ones? Posting this from Lijiang, 4 hour mini bus ride north of Dali. They are both delightfully scenic towns – in a Disney kinda way, but I’ll take it. What’s been amazing is the number of Chinese tourists wondering around, guided by girls in ridiculously kitch “local costume” – flouro embroidery, fake fur and funny hats (the more authentic version of these hill-tribe women are generally middle-aged and grumpy, and wander around the city selling drugs.) In Lijiang, there’s even a loosely enforced fee of 80 Yuan to merely wander around the old town, yet the Chinese love it, especially the tacky pubs, fauxtradional dances, photo ops and pony rides. For the first time in months, we went to bed with the town still partying, as Chinese let loose on packed dancefloors pumping out folk tunes to techno beats.

PS – I’ve promised myself to put more useful info up here for travelling, so in Dali we found a great place above a bookstore – was like staying in a friend’s spare room, and we blissed out with a movie from one of the best selections I’ve ever seen. The place is opposite Jim’s Peace Cafe, and a double with bathroom right next door was 50 Yuan. Now as for Lijiang… We’d been recommended the Ban Ba Inn, but while trudging through the streets, met a woman who is managing a new hotel in town, open for a whole 5 days: Dragon Palace, with a rack rate of Y388 for a standard room. We ended up paying Y120 for a modern, international style room that’s probably never been slept in. Total luxury, except for the musak that floated under the door till past midnight, but that’s a small complaint. Very nice find.


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