After the Tiger Leaping Gorge and the killer bike ride around Shangri La, we decided we needed a break, so we took five days off travelling by relaxing in Lijiang. After Lijiang we took a further break in Eryuan for a night of hot spring pampering, and then a night at sleepy Shuang Lang before moving on to Dali.
It was in Dali that we discovered that the past week of lazing around had kicked our momentum in the proverbial crotch.
There are lots of interesting sights and tourist attractions in Dali, including Cang Shan, the gorgeous mountain that backdrops Dali Old Town. Cang Shan was supposed to be perfect for hiking. There were also some of the most well preserved Buddhist architecture in China, and a cluster of heritage listed private housing.
Instead, while we were In Dali, we spent the better part of our time lounging around our hostel and some cafes, doing jack-all.
At first, we tried telling ourselves that Mama Naxi was a very relaxing place, and it was just fun to hang around and chill with the many interesting personalities in the hostels.
It took us a while, but we eventually realized that we were slowly turning into travel snobs.
We convinced ourselves that we had seen enough temples and “old buildings” to last us for quite a while. We debated on whether it was necessary to subject our knees (and pockets) to more torture, climbing YET another mountain.
At the end of the day, our better senses won out. (“Better senses” being my new endearing nickname for Jo.) We were in a new place and we should try to see as much of it as possible. We got off our fat (but oh so comfortable) asses and made an excursion to Erhai on the outskirts of Dali.
All in all, it was a good (read: relaxing) day trip. We enjoyed the excursion to Er Hai so much, we were willing to give Cang Shan a try. We managed to convince Lulu to bring us up Cang Shan via a deer path (bypassing the ticketing checkpoint). But since the agreement for going to Cang Shan was that we would leave whenever everyone woke up “naturally” (自然醒), we ended up leaving the hostel at 2 in the afternoon and only managed to reach a quarter of the way up the mountain.
Whilst in the past, we probably would’ve bemoaned the day wasted on a lacklustre excursion, this time round we just told ourselves we enjoyed the company and did not really need the “tick in the box”.
At least that’s what I had to drum into Jo to make sure that she didn’t kick me in my non-proverbial crotch.
I’m having fun taking it easy here.
After a few days in Dali, we sort of realized we should’ve already been enroute to Xishuangbana via Kunming and Yuanyang to catch our pre-booked flight out of China, but we didn’t really care.
We figured we’d probably just cut a few mountains/monasteries from our itinerary if we were rushing for time.