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A Stroll In Lijiang

Lijiang woke up well before we did, with roosters crowing, yak yogurt well at work culturing, and all manner of delightful foods sizzling away. On the recommendation of the hotel, we visited a very local restaurant, which consisted of a giant pantry of vegetables and some kerosene burners downstairs and a couple tables which shared the space with a hefty amount of hanging laundry upstairs. We proceeded to sit down for a most succulent breakfast: crispy pork, amazing Chinese greens, home made rice noodles, and a bizarre but tasty mashed-potato-esque dish.

Crispy Pork in Lijiang.JPG

Jie left us to address some Oracle business, and Scott and I proceeded to get lost in the old city. Discovering, as we had guessed, that this place, shared the affliction of our previous Chinese cities, whose shops consist of tessellations of the same few shops, hawking the same goods. At one point, we stopped into one of the many shops selling Spirulina tablets. Spirulina is a blue green algae which is found quite plentifully and in very good quality at a nearby lake here in Yunnan. Having been introduced to the lore of this nutritional supplement in the past, by a gentleman and percussionist by the name of Sammer Ghadri, we entered the shop to inquire further.

Our Sack of Drugs.JPG

The shop-keep had no doubt been dipping into his own stash, for he was the most vibrant, wiry, and stimulated fellow I have encountered in this strange land. He waved his arms around and spoke volumes to us, scrabbling on the floor to show us his many plaques of certification. In the end we decided to buy some, and add it into the AsiaWheeling Morning Pharmaceutical Intake. Perhaps as a replacement for the Malarone, which we had (quite thankfully) ceased our consumption of. In fact the end of the Malarone produced quite a profound change in the entire fabric of the trip. Now free of the daily Malarone Crazy Hour, our experience of China was through an entirely different (and much more relaxed) lens. Perhaps this is just one more factor which made the India chapter such a savage, raw, and mind-blowing experience.

Back in Yunnan Provence, the animated fellow, proceeded to sit us down and frantically make us tea. He continued to rage in Manderan and poured us cup after cup of delightful, ever so slightly sweet black tea. We threw back a few tablets, and offered him some. “No, no.” he gesticulated. “I’ve already had mine.” But he kept ranting, and pouring more tea, and encouraging us to take more tablets. Full to the brim with algae and fine Yunnan black tea, we attempted to wander back to the hotel. Rather lost, but feeling great, we stopped in to the “Stone the Crows Tavern” (an establishment with impeccable taste in music) for directions, and found ourselves compelled to stay a spell. Armed with direction and some yak yogurts for later consumption, we made good time back to the pad.

Yak Yogurt.JPG

The remainder of the day was devoted to working on our correspondence with you, dear reader, as I fear we had fallen very much behind schedule.

Blogging Like a Savage in Lijiang.JPG

Having written much, and in excellent spirits, we took a taxi to a splendid hot pot restaurant for a raging broth, into which we plunged a number of vibrant delicacies. The chinese, have among other things, figured out broth. In America, broth is a yellow and salty liquid, which is created when one adds a packet of powder to water. In china, broth is a vibrant elixir, infused with numerous spices, bones, and always enjoys a thick layer of fat from the base animal, which forms atop as soon it the broth is no longer boiling. In hot pot, though, the broth never stops boiling, the whole meal, aided by the presence of a gas burner installed in the table.

Hotpot Preparation.JPG

Laden with bellies of hot pot, we walked uphill towards the top the old city. From a restaurant perched at the very top, we gazed out over the endless arching clay roofs.

Lijiang at Night.JPG

Indeed, I thought to myself, I could easily spend a few more days in this relaxing town. Back at the bottom of the hill, we meandered along the bizarre night club and bar street, which sported once again, one after another, of the same establishments, with the same terrible band playing guitar rock in one room, and the same mostly male cliental shuffling nervously with in another while smoke and laser lights raged to thumping electronica.

Lijiang Bar Street.JPG

The whole experience of Lijiang at night was enthralling. We stopped into one of these strange establishments and Jie taught us a chinese dice game, which was popular enough that one had merely to ask for the dice and cups, and they came along with your drinks.

The chinese seem to be very much into parlor games: cards, dice, mahjong, checkers, and more bizarre table top competitions. At most restaurants one can order cards from the menu, and a number of board games are not uncommon.  It seemed our days of being stopped from playing cards in the Shenzhen airport restaurant were over. We strolled back to the restaurant, and all around us, people were playing games and drinking those tasteless chinese beers. Outside each club, people dressed in traditional Yunnan clothing were payed to dance awkwardly and invite people inside. We smiled and declined, meandering the glistening cobblestones back to the comfortable most economical accommodations of our hotel.


  1. Jie | July 6th, 2008 | 11:08 am

    the experience of Lijiang at night with you is my favorite part. Thanks so much to have you guys in my life. I love asiawheeling.

  2. Woody | June 1st, 2010 | 6:14 am

    I love AsiaWheeling too!

  3. AsiaWheeling » Blog Archive » Downhill, Then Back Up | June 27th, 2010 | 8:45 am

    […] plate of crispy pork and greens (delightful though not nearly as good as those we had had in Lijiang during the pilot study), and a large pile of rather crispy french fried […]

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