Noilly Prattle: China – Winter 2016 (Caicun Port, Erhai Lake)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

China – Winter 2016 (Caicun Port, Erhai Lake)

on board the #2 bus to Caicun Port
     Once we got comfortable moving around in Dali Old Town we decided to get adventurous and attempt to take a local bus for a 15 minute ride to Caicun Port town on Erhai Lake, a large body of water that dominates the valley in this area. It took us a few minutes to find the bus stop for the No. 2 bus. Lu [beautiful Jade] told us to go to North Gate and look for the crowd waiting for the bus. Well, there were lots of “crowds”, but which one was for the bus? We finally spotted some people who seemed to waiting for a bus. Lu had given us a note with the Chinese characters for Caicun, the town's name. First we showed the note to an old woman who clearly couldn't read, period. Just then, an old man rushed to our rescue, looked at the note and pointed to the bus (with a #2 on it) that was approaching indicating that we should get on it. (Many people were really friendly and helpful when they realized that we were likes babes in the woods, or, should I say, babes in China?)

Caicun town marketplace
birds sounded like ... loons?
        We boarded the bus and showed the note to the driver who more or less absently nodded and pointed to a box in which to stuff the 3¥ fare (about $.50). After about 15 minutes the bus stopped at the market and everyone got off even though no lake was visible. Clearly we, too, had to get off the bus, which we did. We showed a shopkeeper our map of the lake area and she pointed to the east. We walked for about 5 minutes and soon the water could be seen shimmering through the trees—then what obviously was a boat pier and, of course, another small market place.

trying to crack pecans . . . 
. . . success
       Frankly, it didn't look especially interesting. A boatman tried to sell us tickets for a boat tour which, not being prepared to go anywhere on a boat at this time, we declined. We decided to buy some assorted nuts from a vendor and not being used to pricing yet, found the price a bit steep at 90¥ (about $15). So, I shook my head and handed the bag back to the merchant who looked very displeased. We weren't sure if we had heard the price correctly—was it 9 or 90? So, embarrassed, we showed her a 10¥ bill. She hissed and turned her upper body away to indicate insult. Then, realizing that we didn't know that we were supposed to bargain, she offered the nuts at 70¥, which was probably about the price bargaining would have settled on. We paid the 70, walked off and sat by lake cracking and eating a few of the nuts.

#2 bus - field of rape flowers in full bloom
 pavilion on Erhai Lake
       About a week later, now veteran travelers, we took #2 bus to Caicun for the second time to cover ground we hadn't covered the first time. We explored farther to the north and south along Erhai Lake mostly just taking it easy and enjoying the warm sunny weather and saw some interesting things along the way. Caicun port turned out to be more interesting than we had thought at first glance, a good lesson in not making too early and hasty judgements.

beautifully decorated wedding car

washing clothes the old-fashioned way
workhorses -  engine exposed rattletraps
chrome egg sculpture with fetus inside

dog's name is Bao-bao
which means baby in
Chinese - what is interesting
is that the Chinese characters
for baby 

double treasure宝宝
sign says "Bao-bao's house"
afternoon tea
lunch break

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