Sunday, 10 August 2008

Dali and drugdealing housewifes

Dali lies 3 hours (by bus) south from Lijiang, and also has a relatively nice old town. Although not car free and less defined. The buses and trains usually go to Xiaguan, which is confusingly also known as Dali City, but the Dali old town (gucheng) is what tourists would look for. It's something of a backpacker central, which brings about some interesting phenomena. Like lots of signs in English, western food advertised all over, and middle-aged or older women selling drugs all over the streets. They really don't look like drug dealers and seem to only target foreigners. But if you're non-Asian and walk the streets of the old town for five minutes, several will probably have approached you already.

Lonely Planet (2005 edition) also talks of a restaurant claiming to be the first vegetarian restaurant in town, and another one nearby laying the same claim. Neither seems to exist nowadays. But there is a vegetarian café called Seeds, pretty close to where LP said the restaurant was, across the street from Bamboo Café. Their menus feature the Vegan Society logo, but don't be confused: dishes marked with the vegan logo aren't necessarily vegan, they only mean they will make it vegan by request! The menu isn't huge but some of the dishes are very nice, I'd recommend the potato curry at least if you don't mind some spices. The sandwiches are ok too, although they put a considerable amount of oil in my tofu sandwich that I had at the premises, those taken to go didn't seem to feature the oiliness. There's also a bunch of magazines and books (in English, French, and Chinese) to read and very friendly service. And when leaving, get some sandwiches to go.

Otherwise in Dali it was just work and some hiking in the nearby mountains. And a look at the lake. But at the railway station I was quite surprised when the countdown for the Beijing Olympics came on TV and everyone at the station started counting down also. What's more, soon they played the national anthem and almost everyone (myself excluded of course) jumped up and sang along! Goodness, patriotism is weird. Afterwards about a dozen kids surrounded me and each of them wanted a picture with me. That doesn't tend to happen in northern China anymore so it was a little surprising also, even though it was a common occurrence when I came to this country. Speaking of photos, I'm just setting up a new photosharing thing and pictures will be there later, so very few of them here this time.

1 comment:

Luaay said...

i guess those drugdealers are aware of capital punishment.Guess they dont care as much if they get shot by government for doing this.