Noilly Prattle: China - Winter 2016 (no turds allowed)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

China - Winter 2016 (no turds allowed)

Old Town wall and Cangshan Range
    On Sunday morning the weather was sunny and getting warmer. We had arranged to meet a blog buddy at a restaurant called Kikuya not far from the West Gate of Old Town in the afternoon. The area was quieter than Fuxing Road, less touristy and somewhat shabby and run down looking. In the meantime we continued exploring. After entering through South Gate we found that we could climb some steps up to the top of the wall and the upper story of the gate itself and got a semi-bird's-eye view of the whole area from the Cangshan mountains to the west and Erhai Lake to the east, all the way to North Gate at the other end of Fuxing Road, about a kilometer and a half away.

Fuxing Road - North Gate (orange roof)
looking east to Erhai Lake

young Bai women in traditional garb
       We were beginning to get a sense of the vitality of the local people and ethnic Bai culture as well as their colorful costumes. Although many of the traditionally and colorfully clad young women are there for attracting tourists (they will pose for pictures with you if you wish), many women still wear less ornate versions of the traditional garb.

embroidered headwear of this
tie-dye worker is typical of Bai women

locally grown food is varied and abundant
       This area is still very much an agrarian society. The food grown locally is amazing in its abundance and variety. There is a vibrant, noisy, smelly, colorful market with produce laid out in the open in stalls on the ground tended either by merchant middlemen or by the farmers themselves who haul their produce to market in time honored ways and sell it themselves either in the market or along the streets and roads in and outside the city.

fruit and vegetable market
silver smith
       There are probably hundreds (if not thousands) of small shops selling all kinds of goods, from taffy to tea, silver, jade, shoes, clothing of all types, trinkets, restaurants everywhere with the constant smell of food and occasional whiffs of sewer in your nostrils—hurly-burly, bustle and hustle.

pulling taffy

various colorful souvenirs

meat market

Mr. S. - a chain smoker
     We met our blog buddy at the Kikuya restaurant in the early afternoon as prearranged on the Internet. Mr. S. is a Japanese man in his 60s who lives in Dali and is a good source of information about the town and surrounding area. We met him at the restaurant and had lunch and exchanged travel gossip and learned a bit about Dali. I got up to go to the loo at one point and came back LMAO. I learned something quite unexpected about Dali. The sewage system in some areas is inadequate to handle solid waste and you must not defecate or use toilet paper in the commode. A sign on the wall in the toilet was blunt and to the point. Mr. S. explained, straight-facedly, about the inadequacies of the local plumbing and that you could go to a designated toilet up the street if you needed to. It turns out that this is a common problem in many older communities (although referred to more delicately). 

a kinder, gentler reminder
(and cheaper, too)

the four characters on top say,
literally "large stools are prohibited" -
the "fine" is a surcharge for unblocking the toilet

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