I was literally 40 hours in transit with lengthy delays in Beijing and Kunming. At the latter the pilot was a no show and the Chinese passengers became indignant, surrounding, yelling, castigating airline supervisors until they reluctantly committed to finding a replacement pilot. I got some good video footage of "standing in the fire" Chinese style... Marvin Wu, my Chinese trip coordinator recommended by a client and friend was on his cell phone handling all the logistics changes and proved his weight in gold.
Finally arrived in Lijiang at midnight last night during torrential rains. Once arrived the driver led me through a labrynth of ancient stone alleys by foot. Red lanterns lined the streets and reflected against the rain like sparkling fireworks -- or at least that's what it looks like when one has not slept for 48 hous.... We arrived at a dead end where a large wooden gate opened to reveal a courtyard. The inn here is really old and with every nook elegantly occupied by an antique or shrine or art piece of some kind -- but modern conveniences like hot shower, superb bed, and wifi. Operates like a hostel / B&B but I have an upper private room overlooking a garden courtyard. I have seen no other foreign guests.
I slept as if drugged. Breakfast this morning consisted of a cooked a savory rice and grain cereal, hard boiled egg and a regional fried flatbread with pork and green onions folded into it. There was also a steamed bun (bao) filled with pork and the wild mushrooms famously harvested here in this region.
So, China trip is officially underway. It is raining steadily but i am going out to explore old town -- I own gortex lined shoes so... Bring it on. Yes mom, i will bring a jacket : ) I will be here 2 more nights before busing to Dali Will try to establish photo share site from here. Chinese gov blocks Facebook so not sure what will work. Stay tuned.