Photos from India

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Old Lijang

I spent a few days in the old town of Lijang which I had heard so much about. Even Allison was jealous that I was getting to go there since she missed it on her trip to China a couple of years ago. I arrived in the early morning hours before anything was open. It was nice and cool being situated between some of the smaller mountains of the Himalaya range. I spent an hour or so wandering the empty streets trying to find a place to say and managed to come across a nice hilltop spot to watch the sunrise giving excellent views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain which standing at 5,800 meters is an impressive sentinel overlooking the small city. After sunrise, I managed to find a Tibetan cafe that served a great cup of coffee and a filling breakfast. I finished my breakfast, checked some emails and could see that the streets were starting to fill with life. It didn't take long after walking out the door of the Tibetan cafe to find a place to sleep for the night and I set out for the day to explore the rest of town.

The streets of old Lijang wander and wind amongst themselves while a series of interconnected tiny canals rush by carrying cold glacial water that has run down from Jade Dragon Snow mountain. It is a picturesque place with every building being only a couple of stories tall and constructed in the traditional wooden style of the Naxi people who are indigenous to this part of China. After enjoying my morning strolling around the city, I quickly became aware that there wasn't a real purpose to this town anymore other than it being a tourist trap. I am sure that at one time, the local people lived here and worked in various trades around this quaint little community. Now however, the town is filled with expensive restaurants and there isn't a single shop selling anything useful. All I can find anywhere are Chinese souvenirs. If anyone reading this has been to Gatlinburg Tennessee, this is the Chinese equivalent. More tastefully done by all means and lacking the heart shaped jacuzzis in every room but essentially it has the same qualities. There is absolutely nothing to see or do here that doesn't cost money. I kind of wish the early morning hours had lasted the entire day and the town hadn't had the opportunity to show it's real face.

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