(The picture relates to the previous blog entry from Datong!).
Well, yesterday was a long, long day of planes and buses. It started at 4.30am, for the 8.30 plane to Kunming. From there I got the 2.30 bus to Dali and finally arrived in Dali at 8.30pm, the last 2 hours of the journey having been spent on a switchback, in the old bone-shaker of a bus, over the mountains. I had no idea just how mountainous China was until I came here, neither do I know how these buses do it - bouncing and crashing along the unmade roads, rattling, creaking and groaning as they hurtle round the bends at terrifying speed, but, somehow they do and we eventually got to the delightful town of Dali.
I'm staying in an equally delightful hostel, run by a Bai (the local minority group in the area) family. It's another old court-yard house with a comfortable bed and private bathroom - good value at 8 pounds a night! It is also inside the old city walls, so in the most picturesque, interesting and animated part of the town.
Today, after sussing out the opportunities for retail therapy - there were hundreds, so I took full advantage, in spite of limited luggage space! - I took a cable car to the top of a nearby mountain and had, what this time was, a leisurely stroll. In spite of memories of my previous encounter, I was sad to see a cage full of monkeys on the mountain. They can be aggressive and a nuisance but that is no reason to imprison them; we being the intruders in their territory. The view of Dali and its lake was impeded by a slight mist and the weather is distinctly cooler at the present altitude of 1900 feet/metres(?).
So, tomorrow it's Mama Naxi's Hostel in Lijiang - an even funkier back-packer's paradise than Dali, if that's possible! I'll let you know...