Today is the second day of my “expedition” – currently in Dali city. I arrived here around 5:30 in the morning, caught a cab that took me to my hostel (Five Elements Hostel) and because it was just after 6 AM, I went to sleep because I was tired and didn’t have anything else to do anyway 🙂
When I woke up, it was raining cats and dogs so I ordered breakfast (banana pancakes and fruit bowl – pancakes were kind of salty, which I really didn’t expect, see the pic below) and hoped that the rain will stop in the meantime. It didn’t. And because I really didn’t want to waste whole day in a hostel doing nothing, I just went out and hoped for the best.
My first stop was at Three Pagodas. I managed to take a bus in the correct direction but the driver dropped me off 1km away from the entrance. You see, Dali is an ancient town and if it weren’t for the rain, I bet I would love the walk there but as I mentioned earlier, it was raining like hell outside and the sewerage (probably as ancient as the city, or maybe completely non-existent) couldn’t keep up with the huge amounts of water pouring down from the sky. So road which was going downhill for example, looked like a small waterfall.
I, confident that I could jump over without getting wet, took a leap of faith…….. and jumped right in the middle of that small road-waterfall 😀 Arriving to the ticket office with my shoes completely soaked, I noticed that there are women outside selling those plastic covers for your shoes. Usually I’m not into those Chinese “save the day” gadgets but this time I decided to give it a try. And it looked something like this HAHAHA:
In full gear, protected from the water, I bought the ticket (121 RMB) and went up. The Three Pagodas are built on a not very steep hill and every couple of hundred meters up, there is a temple, where you can see how far have you come and admire the view. At the complete end, there was a temple (again) and if you climbed up the stairs to the highest floor, you were able to see the ErHai lake and Dali Old Town. Unfortunately, the view was not that magnificent due to heavy rain and fog but still acceptable (in fact, really pretty 🙂 ).
Mountains were unfolding behind the temple and the mist and fog gave it a nice mystic vibe, where you imagine how it must be to meditate in a temple for couple of months 🙂 Well maybe next time.. Oh and each temple had Buddha statues inside, some of them nice, some of them not, but overall there was a very sacred atmosphere, which made me re-think my ideas I had about life, relationships and so on.
My waterproof shoe-gadget broke down at the top, so I took a small break and tried to dry my shoes and socks (and admire the view around me). Then I went back to the Old Town, explored those ancient streets, bought dumplings for lunch and went back to the hostel because I just couldn’t take the rain anymore.
When I came back to hostel, the sun was shining and I went outside to warm up a bit and enjoy the sun. There was a small garden with pond and a little Buddha behind the hotel and some hostel residents were taking advantage of it to its maximum – sunbathing on the grass, writing poetry (while being inspired by the little Buddha I guess) and so on. Nice chillax, right? 🙂
Now let’s talk about food. During my travels I discovered, and I believe that any other traveler as well, that it’s suuuper difficult to eat healthy. Especially when you’re traveling into distant, half-abandoned/forgotten, untouched by modern civilization places. And by “healthy” I mean plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole wheat, fish and good meat. And in China this is almost impossible if you want to stay on reasonable budget. So during my second day in Dali I started to feel some vitamin deficit. Normally, this wouldn’t happen that fast but before my trip to Yunnan I was already around 7 months in China (with breaks) on a project and I kind of managed to eat at least a bit healthy (which is still terrible for my vitamin intake standards). And now, when I’m always on the go, not having time to eat at all, I always end up eating some oily, fried, definitely unhealthy (but quite delicious) Chinese food. So to come to a conclusion, there was a modern café in the Old Town and I had tuna salad and was really happy about it, end of the story 😀