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Legendary Cultures
March 12 to April 1 2011
Day 1 (London)  |  Day 2 (Lille)  |  Day 3 (London)  |  Lapland  |  Armenia  |  Mongolia  |  Lijiang China  |  Papua New Guinea  |  Indonesia  |  Calcutta  |  Bhutan - Day 1  |  Bhutan - Day 2  |  Petra  |  Turkey  |  Reprise

LIJIANG, CHINA

Our jet trip to China was fine but when we arrived in Kunming (an interim stop), we had to wait for a commercial flight to Lijiang (our jet was too big to land in its airport). We were early for the commercial flight so we were put in a lounge for the convenience of the staff who had to keep track of us. When we were told to board we walked through a shopping area that I really would have liked to have been turned loose in. It was huge, colorful, and seemed to offer everything but live chickens. But this airport (which seems to be true wherever you are in China) is always pandemonium and the possibility of getting lost is great.

Old ReservoirAfter landing at Lijiang, we boarded another bus for a trip to our hotel. On the way we visited the old reservoir that supplied the original (and centuries old) village. It was very picturesque. In fact, the only reason we stopped there was to take pictures. We walked around a quarter of the lake and then turned around.

The Banyan Tree ResortThe Banyan Tree Resort was our next stop. It's less a hotel than a group of private residences that are rented to travelers- a condo hotel. Pretty luxurious. Our "villa" was U-shaped, had two separate bedrooms/bathrooms/offices, a dining room and kitchen, and outside a very large courtyard with two seating areas and a six person hot tub. It was brand new with all the amenities.

This morning we were able to sleep in since we didn't start our day's activities until 10 a.m. Lijiang is in the same time zone as Ulaanbataarso we really slept well.

For our morning activity we were bused to the mountains outside Lijiang for a performance ofTheatre what can only be described as a ballet, opera, and Broadway show all in one. The parking lot must have contained 400-500 buses. It was outdoor theatremobbed. I don't know what I expected of the performance but my expectations initially weren't very much higher than ho-hum. I was totally wrong. There were 500 performers (non-professionals), 100-200 ponies, and a dozen costume changes all in the space of about an hour. The performance was all around us with the snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as a backdrop.(Our guide told us that this is the highest outdoor theatre in the world.) Even though we did not understand the language, the singing, dancing and performance overall was over the top. It was almost impossible to photograph the event, or to convey the impact of the performance in photos, but here are a few.

local ShamanIn the afternoon we visited a museum (oh goody) and got a chance to stroll the old Village. The only interesting part of the Museum was a chance to hear from the local Shaman (via a translator). He presides over weddings, births, child naming, sicknesses and death among other responsibilities. His divination is through a book of pictographs, which is part of the local Naxi culture. These pictographs, plus whatever else he brings to the process, communicates with the gods and leads him to an answer/solution. I'm not sure even he believed.

Old VillageFinally, we went to visit the Old Village of Lijiang, a United Nations World Heritage site. It is supposed to be pretty much the same as it had been for centuries. Artisans are everywhere - silver, weaving, leather and so forth. This was an interesting glimpse of Chinese villages of the past, and it was mobbed - not so much by Western tourists but by Chinese, mostly teenagers.



Day 1 (London)  |  Day 2 (Lille)  |  Day 3 (London)  |  Lapland  |  Armenia  |  Mongolia  |  Lijiang China  |  Papua New Guinea  |  Indonesia  |  Calcutta  |  Bhutan - Day 1  |  Bhutan - Day 2  |  Petra  |  Turkey  |  Reprise



HOME  |  AUSTRALIA 2003  |  ACROSS AMERICA  |  IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA  |  VIETNAM  |  AFRICA  |  AROUND THE WORLD 2009  |  SOUTH AMERICA 2009  |  LEGENDARY CULTURES 2011
  |  TURKEY AND GREECE  |  CIRCLE THE ARCTIC