Wednesday 28.04.10 Friends Guesthouse, Dali
I had a room for 80 RMB. A real hotel room, with towels, toilet paper, bathroom, thermo with hot water and TV. But no CCTV9, the english spoken channel. But I don't have time for TV either.
They had rooms for 50, 80 and 100. For 50 it was like this but it looked lousy all over. The next one was more tempting, so I took it.
Last night I thought my new charger for the PDA was finished. And their computer wouldn't allow me to install what I needed.
This morning it was working again - mysterious, but nice. And I remembered I bring a card reader. Last time IT didn't work, but now it did. It's always good to have alternatives with all this computer stuff.
Now I've hired a MTB for the whole day. We found one where all three cogwheels in front works. I told him I was some kind of a pro, when he'd explained to me that the first bike was adjusted so one only could use the middle cogwheel. Then he had this one, and he put on a carrier, so I can have my handdlebar bag there, and I had something to tie it with. I find it a reasonable bike. Brand: "Giant", alu frame and suspension in front. Same quality as my "new" one at home - in Denmark I mean.
Dali is simple in the way that all are tourists - or make a living from tourists. It's a beautiful old town, but doesn't function much that way, more as a tourist trap as it's called.
In the northern part of town the locals reside, the rest are shops selling merchandise and food (restaurants) to the tourists.
I live one level down from the street in a yard. A gate up in the main building and a steel ramp makes it possible for cars to go down and park in the yard. It sounds like 5 dustmen moving steel dustbins around like they did iin the old times (my childhood) in Denmark. But it quiet all through the night.
At 11 o'clock I've shopped food and roll up north along the upper road. According to the man where I hired the bicycle and where I bought a rather artistic map, there should be two parallel roads. What he didn't mention, and what cannot be seen in the map, is that the upper road is under construction - at least for the first bit. So I find a small stony road and roll through a village - it didn't take long to get from town to countryside - down to the main road.
And then I'm going fast northwards. It should be 18 km to a fishermen village? A village at the shore of the lake. Because in the middle of the valley is a BIG lake, Erhai Hu.
There are many fine objects to photograph on the way: peasants working in the fields with a great variety of tools and machines and methods.
I've learned to say: "I'd like to go to this place", while I point at a place in
I use it a couple of times to avoid going too far.
I actually GO a bit too far because suddenly I see the small bay where the village should be behind me.
I thought it would be touristy too, but IT IS NOT!
I go through the villagee street where the farmers is putting the cut stalks from some plant in the middle of the street. I don't know the purpose, other than that the traffic (I see only myself and 2 three-wheeled scooters) shall crush them. The bunches are still rather high and quite difficult to ride through on bike.
There's no small harbour at the lake as I'd expected - or any fishing boats. But there is a very beautiful house in traditional style, that I assume is a restaurant? (The bicycle man doesn't know either when I ask him later).
It's all dead, but 3 smaller boys have seen me pass and arrive with a fishing rod. The one witth the rod is a bit more frank than the others. We "talk" a bit and I give them a small paper wrapped bread each. I take some photos. The one of them is not good, they try to hide behind each other.
Then I go on a small path along the shore and they follow. At some moment when I've stopped they overtake me and the frank one wants me to go with them. To see where he lives? No, apparently because he thinks I can take some fine pictures of the lake there. So I leave the bike and we walk in a single file on a kind of narrow concrete path. I do take some photos and say goodbye and thank you - they were SO sweet and serious. A nice experience. Then I go on small paths another way through the village and turn homewards.
Traffic has raised - the smog is unbearable, so I choose the upper road, which isn't so far here. This part is also under construction, which means that on a dry day like this - nice sunshine - the cars bring up DUST. But there isn't much traffic so - choose between smog and dust? I choose the latter and here nobody cares if I go way out to the left, because the dust blows to the right.
I go for 10-12 km I guess, then I'm done and go back to the smog so I can do the last part quickly.
Exhausted I return back to town and try to cycle through the main street. I do alright in the northern part but then I have to do a detour to avoid the most packed part. It's worse than Tivoli (danish amusement park and garden) in the best summers eve. You can hardly move - for all the other tourists.
It was a fine day I had NOT being here. I have bought the ticket for Lijiang tomorrow.
I leave to buy something I need to write and send - postcards. Until
now I haven't seen any and in this town I've even looked for them, but
with no succes. But there must be?
It's obvious that the chinese don't have the same tradition for sending postcards back home from their trips. I wander through town - no result. And then, when I'm nearly back a salesman in the street suddenly has some. There are not many to choose between, but now I'm only short of stamps.
As I'm going to return the bike I also go asking for the postoffice. It's further on. I walk along the street, a shoe shiner wants to polish my shoes - and the NEED it. So when I've found out that the postoffice has closed, but will be open tomorrow at 8, I let him. It will cost me 2 RMB, but in a moment he's doing all sorts of things to them. I don't stop him, he did say 2, but I'll be willing to pay more and how much will be MY decision.
He puts on new toes and heels, just a little. Glues an edge that need it. Sews a bit too, it takes some time, while it's still raining which started here at dinner time. Well, he finishes and asks for 20. I point out that he said 2 and that we didn't agree on anything else and he gives tongue. My problem now is which notes I have, I don't want to give my one notes, they're for a possible bus.
I end up at 10, so that's what I give him, and I leave and he complains, but as he doesn't run after me, I know it was more than enogh.
But if you need to be sure in such a situation, you pay in advance.