Noilly Prattle: China - Winter 20216 (Geothermal Paradise)

Monday, May 9, 2016

China - Winter 20216 (Geothermal Paradise)

on the Old Town in the rain
rainy night in Dali
     The weather that had been beautiful for a week or so turned uncooperative and it rained for three days. We mostly hung around the hotel and went out occasionally to eat or to take the air and do some walking. We had seen a photograph exhibit at one the local temples. The subject of many of the beautiful photographs were landscapes of pear orchards in full bloom. We learned that the photographs had been taken in orchards in the area, one of which was in a town called Eryuan a couple hours from Dali by bus that we wanted to see. On the fourth day of the rains, the sky looking brighter and the clouds more broken, we decided to take a chance on the weather and do our local bus trip to Eryuan. The day started out with a higher cloud ceiling with patches of blue sky visible in places. It didn't seem to have rained much overnight and the hazy sun was making a silver lining edging the remaining rain clouds.

commerce rain or shine

bus to Eryuan
       After breakfast we proceeded to the West Gate bus stop for local buses and found the bus to Eryuan. It cost 15¥ ($2.30) per passenger. We ran into a little language confusion but there was a young guy on the bus who spoke English and helped us out. After an hour and a half the bus stopped and everybody had to get off the bus, but we didn't know why. This young man again took charge and helped us out and told us we had to transfer buses and that he was going to the same place as we were to attend his friend's wedding. 

lush green vegetable fields on the road to Eryuan

Shanwei at Eryuan
Bus Terminal
         He sat behind us and we started to get acquainted. His name is Shanwei [means something like Noble Mountain] and he is a surgeon from Kunming. He was very friendly and we engaged in a lively and interesting conversation. When we arrived at the bus terminal in Eryuan we were a bit overwhelmed by the size of the place and hadn't a clue about what to do next. We told Shanwei that we were looking for a temple with a pear orchard, but he didn't know where it was and, anyway, he thought it was too soon for the pear blossoms. He called his friend on his cell then told us he was going to the hot spring resort in town (it's well known and we had debated going there as well) before going to his friend's wedding and suggested we all go together. 

another trusty tuk-tuk
        We agreed and got in a tuk-tuk and went to the hot spring called “Geothermal Paradise”. It is a huge complex of hotels and hot spring pools galore—quite different from hot springs in Japan. Also, nude bathing is not permitted in Chinese hot springs so we had to buy swim wear. We spent a very pleasant couple hours in the pools and chatted amiably getting to know each other across race and cultures. I believe that, on a person to person level, with goodwill and openness, we have much more in common with people from different races and cultures than differences. The differences are superficial, the similarities universal and profound.

 the fish cleanse the dead skin -
if you can stand the sensation

on the road to Dali
        We all got into another tuk-tuk to go back to the bus terminal. Shanwei invited to attend his friend's wedding, but, tempting though it was, we thanked him for the honor and declined. He got off on a street corner and we continued on to the bus terminal. I got his email address and promised to send him some of the photos we had taken in the pools. We bought our tickets back to Dali, found the boarding gate and settled in for the couple hour drive back to town. 

The Blue Gecko
        After arriving at West Gate we walked over to a very good restaurant we had discovered called The Blue Gecko for dinner and returned to Yin Feng around 6pm. Road Buddy's computer crashed and we had to work on recovering it by booting in safe mode to reset the OS to the previous day when it worked properly (one of Microsoft's better ideas) and it was successfully recovered. 

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