Barry and I traveled to Dali, Yunnan Province, home of many Chinese ethnic minorities; we found sunny blue skies, friendly colorful people, and interesting history. Because we liked it so much, we got stuck there, staying longer than we had intended.
Sunset over the mountains outside Dali. The tree in the neighboring yard is loaded with clementines.
We awoke to see snow on the mountain tops and warm sunshine.
Snow on the mountains, but warm temperatures in Dali.
The food was varied and good.
Our new friend Nature helped us find a vegetarian restaurant where we ate many times.
The Lovely Lotus Delicious Vegetarian Restaurant was a favorite.
We liked the selections – and the friendly staff.
Our friendly Muslim noodle man.
Yummy freshly made noodles!
Restaurants of all kinds.
We loved walking the narrow streets of the Old City Dali.
Old City Dali
The streets teem with life.
Catholics, Christians, and Buddhists have centers in Old City Dali.
Dali Christian Church
We went to the Three-Pagodas one afternoon – and stayed so long that we had to climb over a fence in order to leave :)
Although this site is now strictly a cultural destination, we heard chanting from other buildings in Dali and learned that the Buddhist community provides a free daily meal to those in need.
A temple to Confucius.
The opening of a Belgium waffle shop involved chanted blessings (and free cigarettes and tea).
The Dali residents dress in a variety of ways.
Some women wear ethnic dress, some modern clothes.
Colorful foreigners are here too.
Old City Dali pedestrian street.
Many shopping choices line the Old City Dali streets.
Farmers bring their produce to sell in the streets.
Peanuts and scarves
Shoe repair shop on the street.
Hair braiding/threading shop.
Dali is known for its beautiful stone.
Shops in colorful, historic buildings.
Stylish women’s dresses.
Cafés, coffee bars, and restaurants line the walking streets.
Varied restaurant experiences.
A good place for an afternoon coffee.
Cool doorways -
Old City Dali
Some entrances are humble.
Some have stately entrances.
Some entrances are more modern.
White walls, black tiles
Walls of color too.
Beautiful gates and doors in Old City Dali.
Some gates reflect ancient styles.
Old stone walls.
Old City Dali gates:
Old City Dali gate.
Local women outside an Old City Dali gate.
Old City Dali offers entertainment of many types.
Games on the street.
Because his name is Jonny Hawaii, we had to go see this “18th Performance with Paper Reading.”
Would Jonny Hawaii do a dramatic reading? I was hopeful his presentation would be in English.
Jonny in the foreground; Rachel reading.
We were warned that Jonny’s presentation would be loud.
Many of us held our ears because of the screeching that accompanied Jonny’s symbolic performance.
Innovative Education in Old City Dali:
We discovered “The Living School” when we met Joy, a teacher, and his students selling challa bread one afternoon in Dali. Fourteen Dali families have joined together to “homeschool” their children. Instead of the traditional Chinese school of long hours of memorization, these children study academics in the morning and then develop their own passions (music, art, crafts) during the afternoons. The school encourages innovation and hands-on learning. The students learn to cook and garden and make mud bricks and develop new skills.
Lunch with The Living School students and Joy.
The school also invites Couch Surfers to stay at the school and share their experiences. One evening I saw a program presented by Eurate & Sam who have been traveling for 2 1/2 years – by bicycle! Coming overland from the Basque region of Spain, they are on their way to New Zealand – and they have had many adventures.
Sam & Eunate explain how they handled the laws of Iraq that don’t permit touching between men and women.
Sam showing the bicycle route from Spain to Dali, China.
The Living School kids, their teachers, and Eunate.
Eunate says all you need to travel is a smile. She says money causes trouble, so she and Sam have traded work for places to stay and food wherever they have gone. I love their spirits and sense of adventure.
Joy and his students singing a thank you to Sam & Eunate.
Barry and I loved our stay in Old City Dali. Our Dragonfly Hostel with its friendly staff, comfortable rooms, rooftop garden, and reading/music room became our home in Dali.
A Dragonfly Hostel room.
Old City Dali – a mingling of the traditional and the new.
Zaì jiàn, Renée