OK…I’ve fallen on my head as a blogger. I have let life get in the way of chronicling my life here. ENOUGH of that!
Let’s start with this most recent trip…and then I will pluck my way backwards to my other travels!
If you’ve never heard of Lijiang…don’t worry. I hadn’t either. This trip was a trekking trip…much like my trip to Vietnam last year…only this was WAY more trekky!
Last May I was asked to join the “Asian Tours” committee that coordinates our travels for the AWA. I was honored since it is a TON of responsibility and takes real commitment. However, when asked to join, the trips for 2012-2013 had already been chosen and the leaders picked…so I figured my year would be one of training, listening, and then helping pick next years locations!
Well, out of the blue one of the coordinators dropped, and I was first up to take the trip. I JUMPED on it!
Of the trips planned, this one was right up there for me. I only had a couple of weeks to get ready, and this was going to come right after the big AWA Charity Bazaar….I could handle it.
There were 22 total women on this trip, and as luck would have it, I had a beautiful single room when we arrived at our hotel for the first two nights of the trip. This is the Crowne Plaza Lijiang I HIGHLY recommend it!
Now, Lijiang has some altitude, and we were planning on spending a couple of days getting acclimated before the trekking was to begin. I’m talking starting at 2400 meters or so, going up to 3030 meters!
Our first morning opened to beautiful blue skies. the first thing on our agenda was breakfast then a bus ride to enjoy the show “Impression of Lijiang.”
This show involves over 500 farmers and villages in fabulous ethnic costumes + horses! When the show is over, the performers pack up and head back to their villages to work. Just one show a day…don’t be late.
The show was choreographed by Zhang Yi Mou who is a famous Chinese director and was involved with Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony.
It was amazing
First we had to rent these super attractive orange coats due to the cold…Sitting for over an hour…no matter how warm you THINK you are…you are never warm enough.
Not pretty…but they did the trick!
I don’t have words for the beauty of the show. Our guide explained some of the show…and there were explanations in English off to the side, but quite honestly, just sitting and watching was incredible enough.
The back drop of the show is the Jade Dragon Mountain…which is the back end of the Himalayas.
I am watching a show…in China….staring at the Himalayas. PINCH ME!
Click on this last photo! It really shows all of the different costumes!
Here’s the group of us after the show!
We did not get to take pictures with the cast…sad, but there were other villages to explore.
After a restroom stop…well…toilet…well…hole stop…off we went.
We stopped in a village where explorer Joseph Rock lived for many years. Rock was a National Geographic explorer who was the first to bring images of Lijiang and the Naxi people to the West. http://www.cits.net/china-guide/destinations/yunnan/lijiang/joseph-rock-residence.html
Sadly, many of his photos were destroyed during transport during WWII. His residence is pretty cool and well preserved in the middle of the Yuhu Village.
This Village is matriarchal in that the women work, (this lady is separating out canola seeds) and then men take care of the children. However, many of the young have left to find work in the cities, so mostly who is left are the very young and very old.
We moved on from the Yuhu village to where we would have lunch. On the way, there was a gaggle of older local women who would take pictures with you (for a fee) and let you take pictures of them (for a fee)
OK…See the one on the end? Counting the money
SHE is tough and a crafty one who does NOT give change for your $10 RMB (which is $1.59 USD)…so she and I go around about the change…she runs…and proceeds to CACKLE at me and I know MOCK me to her friends…Well, let’s just say I’m happy to be her story. It was pretty funny. I wish I had snapped a good picture of the grin on her face as she FLEECED me for .79 cents!
We had our second local meal…which was A LOT like our first local meal. Stay tuned on this …Corn, rice, potatoes (carb, carb, carb) a chicken and nut dish (Kung Pao chicken anyone?), a pork dish…yep…tasty…just familiar.
After lunch we made our way to a vocational school where students were not only taught English (all the better to help us shop), they are taught to embroider in silk. I can’t remember how many strands the silk can be broken down into …but…it’s a lot…so many that it’s thinner than a human hair…and barely visible. The girls will use 6 strands to long stitch with. By the way…I could not really make out a drawn pattern…but I’m sure it was there???
After the demonstration came “shopper-tunities”. I was FORBIDDEN to bring home anything for the walls…so my joy was watching others. The pictures were stunning (and pricy), but for all of the hand work, well worth it!
Next we went off to the Dongba Institute where we were able to see beautiful costumes, and a Shaman who would write out a fortune for your family or anyone chose. The Shaman studies for 14 years and the last one that was brought into the fold was born in 1983…so you can see…they are few and far between!
We walked along Black Dragon Pond and made our way to the bus.
That is my friend Carol. We met my first month here!
Next was a visit to Old Lijiang town for…you guessed it…Shopper-tunities!
I have NO idea what this says…but it was pretty!
After doing very little shopping, we found the food district!! Check these pics out! If you ever wonder where your food comes from…or what it looks like BEFORE it hits the table…THIS is the place to be!
The gentleman worked on the sheep quite diligently to strip every bit of meat from it. See him work around the heart?
Check out the piggy! YUM!!! These were being worked on right outside the restaurants where they would be served!!
We, however, did not eat here…we went to a restaurant, where, for the third straight main meal (breakfast at the restaurant does not count) we ate, corn, potatoes, Kung Pao chicken, pork, sigh…we were warned…we just did not know HOW repetitive it would be….especially with all of the choices above!
Here is the view from dinner…for tomorrow…we would start our trekking!!