Day 11: Spicy pandas
We had to get up very early today. It was a bit hard because we arrived late at the hotel last night. Today we went to the Giant panda breeding facility. Pandas are morning animals so we wanted to be there before feeding time which was at 8 am. It was fun to see them run to get the bamboo and just lazily chew on it for some time. We also saw two pandas playfully playing sumo wrestling on a platform.
Giant pandas were not the only animals kept there. Also Red pandas (also called fire foxes) could be visited. They were also playful. They played with the cleaners who collected their poo. If you could not find them, you had to look up and see them spying on you from top of the trees. Overall it was very nice to see these animals in real life.
After the pandas we were dropped off at a park in Chengdu where I had the most horrible coffee. After I got the taste out of my mouth we continued the journey by walking to the Wuhou temple. To get there we had to go through a small alley with shops and a lot of Chinese tourists. The golden week is almost over. Maybe it will calm a bit down afterwards. The temple itself was quite nice. Some old buildings could be found and relaxing Chinese. There was also a Mausoleum, which is a hill where probably someone is buried beneath it.
In the evening it was time to check out Chengduâ€™s specialty: hotpot. It is where you boil your meat, fish and vegetables in cooking spiced water. Because we are Dutch we had a mild big pot, and a spicy small pot. The spicy one was medium in Chinese terms, but to me for the meat it was pretty good! My taste buds were happily on fire. I cannot stress enough how good the food is in China. I am really going to miss this back home.
Day 12: Shops, bars and wet Asians
It was another early morning for us. It was time for our last flight of this vacation. The destination this time was Lijiang, which is famous for its old town. It is a small walk from our hotel to the old town of Lijiang. We arrived with a small group at a small restaurant where we could eat a burger. Â So that meant no Chinese food for us today.Â We had some fun with the owner family.Â The small boy enjoyed our company that much he decided to pee next to our table. The owner grabbed the mob as quickly as he could.Â After a couple of Chinese beers we continued our walk.Â And wow than we actually saw how beautiful Lijiang actually was!Â Because of the golden week there were a lot of flowers and bridges over a small creek that was flowing through the old town. A lot of Chinese tourists were enjoying themselves and were buying rubbish from the shops.
Also quite popular was to get in a picture with a western doll.Â This to us was beyond funny.Â Of course I got a photo with it as well: the two western guys.Â After a nice stroll we ate a simple dinner near the water. While enjoying our beers we heard a large splash. Apparently a Chinese girl fell in the water. Luckily for her she kept her cell phone dry. That was a good finish of a good day.
Day 13: A minority in climbing
Today was a special day where we are not visiting a town or a temple.Â Today a bus was waiting for us in front of the hotel.Â Our guide of the day was a Naxi which is a minority group here in China. He took us for a drive to a small Naxi village where he showed us some things they are doing in a normal day of life. While on the road the guide told us stories and sang some of their songs. In another village within the national park we ate some new local food.Â Then it was time to do the nature part of this holiday. We were climbing the Laojunshan a very nice mountain in a very nice unique surroundings that I have not seen in real life before.Â The climb was with a lot of stairs and was pretty steep.Â But it felt really good to be in nature again!Â The end point gave us spectacular views. After a quick decent we arrived at the bus and had a long journey back.Â The guide entertained us again with some songs.
When I was back at the hotel I did a quick freshen up and went to the old city again for some food and watching Chinese tourists.Â But most of the time it was the other way around. The Chinese band that was playing was also very enjoyable.
Day 14: prostitutes and bikes
The night was pretty rough.Â The beds in this hotel were horrible.Â It was if you were sleeping on a plank. And one of the group had to scare away the hookers that were yelling and screaming for almost an hour in the middle of the night. Â After a quick breakfast we got in the bus for our trip to Dali. We arrived at a huge hotel in Russian architect style. It was very different than the other hotels with an ugly outside and a beautiful inside with a beautiful lobby and galleries.
Dali is like Lijiang an old town, it is a bit bigger and it has a huge lake a couple of kilometers from the ancient city. The best way to travel this city is by renting a bike which I succeeded to do with my hands and feet. It was a decent mountain bike which was good enough to take a trip to the lake. So after a couple of kilometers I reached the lake. There was not much to see, but biking to the small alleys of the villages near the lake was a lot of fun. You could also see how the Chinese farm their lands. It was time to head back to Dali. First I went to a nice view of the three pagodas. I did not enter the site itself. It is pretty expensive for what you get.Â You are not allowed to climb the pagodas for example.Â I finished my tour in the ancient city part of Dali where I looked around at the tourists and shops and drank some beers.
The evening was quite special. We were invited by our guide for tomorrow to join him in his restaurant for some Tibetan food. He used his motherâ€™s recipe and it all tasted quite good, we even got a nice desert. When the eating part was over he brought along his â€˜Tibetan whiskeyâ€™ of which I had way to many.
Day 15: hung-ov.. Â Â erm Â relaxing day in the rain with bad monkeys
I woke up to go on tour with the group and Jim as a guide but I found at that that was not going to happen. I felt really sick of the alcohol the night before in combination of a very busy holiday with a mountain climb and a mountain bike trip on steep roads.Â It was not really a headache but nausea, sweatiness and shaking legs. Because it was raining cats and dogs, the decision to go back to bed was not that hard to make. After a long sleep I spend the rest of the day writing this report, watching series and playing games.
In the evening I felt hungry from not eating the whole day. So I grabbed my umbrella and went to the ancient city for some shopping. I ended up in the Bad Monkey again. This is a bar that I found out the day before. I had a nice home brewed wheat beer (yes I drank again that day) with a nice meat pizza.
Day 16: Bussing along
Today I had another rough start. I woke up nicely at 7:50 so that I could take it easy before checkout. But at 8:00 the tour guide phoned me to inform me that checkout time was 8 AM instead of 9 AM.. So that meant hurrying without any coffee and breakfast.
So with no breakfast in my stomach I got in the bus for the long drive to Kunming. The trip was very nice with nice surroundings. And I got pretty far in my book. We arrived in Kunming in the afternoon. I knew that there is a cache near the hotel. Sadly we could not find it. We also visited the Yuantong temple. It was a nice temple with a lot of water. Â Afterwards we went to the park where a lot of locals were singing and dancing. My stomach did not feel that well, so I headed back to the hotel. I managed to do some shopping in the evening and I even went to the burger king to attack the germs in my stomach. Hopefully the problems are over tomorrow.