Noilly Prattle: China – Winter 2016 (Dali, first impressions)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

China – Winter 2016 (Dali, first impressions)

Changshan Range seen through the bathroom window of the Ji Rui Hotel
slope leading to South Gate and the Changshan Range 
     The room we had booked at the Ji Rui for 21 days boasted a mountain view, (the only one with a mountain view in the hotel). But at first, upon getting out from under the electric blanket in the still chilly morning air, the mountain view wasn't in evidence. The windows were all beautifully latticed with wood carving but then I noticed that if you looked through the high latticed windows in the bathroom you could, indeed, see the mountains in the dramatic Cangshan range to the West. The front range was green and wooded, but the high peaks in the back range showed snow and glacier cover sparkling against a cerulean blue sky. The hotel staff kindly served us a Chinese style breakfast and listened to our complaints about the unheated room. (We later learned that unheated rooms in older hotels were the norm.) They were sympathetic and offered to change our room to one, the only one, that had a heater. To which offer we said we would think about and make a decision as soon as possible.

South Gate
section of the Old Town wall
        We had timed our arrival to be after the peak of the Chinese New Year travel, but there were still thousands of tourists in the old town when we finally ventured forth from the hotel for the first time. The weather was sunny and getting warmer as the sun climbed higher towards noon. It was a good kilometer walk upslope from the hotel to the South Gate of the OldTown and we climbed it along with the sun. The south gate was dazzling with its mountain backdrop and its foot planted in yellow and purple flowers. Dali Old Town, inside its still standing wall, is a vibrant, aromatic, colorful and raucous place. The main north/south thoroughfare Fuxing Road is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants. It was super crowded with tourists (this is what 1.3 billion people looks like in a microcosm I thought) with magnificent architecture and color, color, color everywhere, red, of course, predominating.

Fuxing Road - WuHua Building in background

WuHua Building
Food court with mind-boggling array of dishes

nice, quiet tastefully decorated restaurant

more tea?

the bride wore red - who can resist a wedding party?

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