Hope your all wrapped up warm back in the UK, we're getting our fare share of cold weather here (minus the winter coats). Had a busy time since our last post, spent couple of days battling tour groups as we wondered around the old streets of Lijiang. The town was perched on a hill and was very picturesque with all the traditional houses lit up. From there we ventured to Tiger Leaping Gorge, Clare and i have now make a tiger impression, well its more a lion noise with hand expressions showing we're leaping to denote the gorge. Its far more fun than saying the words. To be honest we had dismissed going to the gorge as the walk is a very strenuous 7 hours up hill, which didn't interest us at all. Instead we wondered on the road, saw some spectacular scenery and enjoyed the sun. We stayed overnight at what we can only describe as random guesthouse which wasn't particularly friendly, even though we were the only guests but it only cost us 2.50 and was our only option.
Before going to the gorge we got chatting to an expat (from St Helens), he persuaded us to go to the gorge and then onto Shangri la. Now we had dismissed Shangri la as the Lonely Planet mentions that the town practically shuts down from November onwards and can often be cut off by snow storms. We hadn't heard of transport disruptions so decided to go for the day to see the monastery based on the book Lost Horizon (so Clare bookworm Deacon tells me). On the journey we passed through some amazing villages and as we were heading closer to Tibet we started to see the Tibetan influence with lots of colourful Tibetan prayer flags. We also managed to see some MASSIVE vultures circling very close by.
Once arriving in Shangri la we realised that the place was more alive than we thought so decided to stay the night. We tracked down the only hostel that was open in town and similarly found a cosy cafe with heating where we spent 90% of our time. The other 5% was spent at the monastery, we were so glad we made the journey as it was definitely a highlight wondering the colourful high temples where 600 monks sit to worship. The other 5% was spent not sleeping in our freezing cold room with no heating as we wore all the clothes we owned as well as our trusty hat, gloves and scarves (sulu).
We were very glad to head south to Dali where its a little warmer. Here we've been Christmas shopping and generally spent the time thawing out. Yesterday was Clare's highlight of China, we hired electric scooters (no licence needed) and bombed it around the old town and nearby lake. Clare took great pleasure at beeping at every car and pedestrian, even if they weren't in our way. As she said she was just doing it like a local and believe me we've endured enough car/scooter honking to last a life time. In fact today as we were crossing the road a large truck beeped at us, in casewe'd missed the massive beast, he was miles away from hitting us! It seems the Chinese constantly have their hands on the horns and have no special awareness nor are educated on the green cross code. I fear i have created a monster as a soon as we returned the scooters Clare was on the internet finding out if she could get one back home and how much they cost.
Heading back to Kunming in a few days where we are hoping to go to the Stone Forest before heading to HK. Fiji in a week, the count down is on
Love to all H x x