Saturday, May 14, 2011
Evening, Day 3: Passing Through Lijiang
SUNDAY, April 24
The next leg of our trip would have Layla and me dropping into a few places in northwest Yunnan. To get there we'd have to take a plane -- a bus would take about a day and after our experience on the night bus from Kunming to Jinghong we wanted to expedite the whole traveling from A to B process. We also wanted to get away from Jinghong as quickly as possible.
As we flew into Lijiang I saw trails of lights from the air. It looked like the airport but we were still too high up to make a proper landing. On the ride into the city I saw what they were: it was a highway, with tall lightpoles running down each side for miles and miles. Our driver said the government was pouring millions, if not billions, of RMB into the city to bring it up to speed with other parts of China. One day there would be highrises and houses, malls and other department stores. But for now, there was only lights.
The ride to Lijiang's old city took the better part of an hour. The airport was built way out in the boonies and to get to our hostel we had to drive over barely paved roads, then pure dirt roads. Reminded me of off roading back in Pennsylvania's Coal Region, except slightly less comfortable since my ride was a low riding cab instead of a Jeep Wrangler.
Like most cities in China, Lijiang has an "old" city. I'm sure at one point it was a nice, peaceful little place, but now it's full of hostels, bars and tourists looking to spend money on local knick knacks.
Since we were just passing through, we didn't have time, or space in our bags, to fill up on LIjiang snacks and whatnot. The next day we'd be heading to the Tiger Leaping Gorge north of the old city.