Noilly Prattle: China – Winter 2016 (Dali, getting to know more about you)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

China – Winter 2016 (Dali, getting to know more about you)

     Although the Ji Rui Hotel was charming and the staff were attentive and helpful, the inconvenience of having to walk a kilometer to the South Gate for next 17 days decided us to change hotels. A car from the new hotel, the Yin Feng, picked us up and drove us to the hotel. The ride through Dali outside the wall of the old town showed us a side of Dali we hadn't yet experienced. Thus far and on foot we had seen mostly the touristy side of the Old Town. What we drove through was the non-facelifted part of town—the real town. I realized then that there were two Dalis, the tourist area confined mostly to Fuxing Road between the North and South Gates, and the rest, perhaps more real and authentic as a representation of the level of development in the area.

        Driving in Dali traffic is done as much with the horn as the steering wheel and accelerator. There are hardly any traffic signals, no stop signs . . . We saw only two traffic lights at major highway intersections. Narrow roads are congested with pedestrians and vehicles of every imaginable description: cars, buses, trucks, etc. I sat on the edge of my seat as our driver maneuvered seemingly effortlessly and with nerves of steel (or none at all), blowing the horn every few seconds and barely slowing down to avoid obstacles in the road. Yet, what seems like chaos to me is everyday normal for the locals. I have seen similar driving conditions in many developing countries and I can only think that I would hate to drive a car where traffic regulations are regarded merely as suggestions when not ignored completely.

Yin Feng Hotel
room with heater at Yin Feng
        The staff of the Yin Feng (Bao Lu [Beautiful Jade] and Chen Xiao Tao [Little Ripple]) are very friendly and helpful in every way. The young woman, Lu, is especially there for you, with good English and the patience of Job it seems. She helped us to settle in and handled all our questions and anxieties with perfect politesse and knowledge of local conditions. The room is spacious, clean, has a heater/air conditioner and the hotel is right in the old town an easy walking distance to shops, restaurants, etc. Although not as charming as our first traditional (and unheated) hotel, it is definitely an improvement for the heat and location.

Yuer Park 
red and white camellia
       There is a lovely park just a stone's throw from the Yin Feng. Yuer Park is a refuge of quiet right in the middle of the bustling town. The park is popular for its camellias plants with the biggest camellia blossoms I have ever seen. It's a convenient and relaxing way to walk around town instead of walking along the very busy and bustling Fuxing Road. 


Cangshan Mountains
Chinese Banyan Tree

the card players

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