Erhai Cruise, Dali, Yunnan, China

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Our breakfast consists of fried buns topped with shrimp and fried erkuai

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We booked an Erhai cruise for that morning along with the transportation to the cruise port.  A rather chubby 24 year-old local picked us up.  “you want know something true about this place?” she gave us a big friendly smile, “all the girls, I mean, every single one of them, if they aren’t dark, they aren’t local.”  Giving us a piece of corn she brought for her breakfast,”here, have some.”  Then she went on, “I mean, if she’s a pretty girl, then most likely she’s not a local.  Local girls won’t have good skins from all that radiation (from the sun) we got all year long.”

Like lots of other locals we met, she gave us a very straight-forward direction about where to go, what to see, and even tricks on how to manage between different ticket places…

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Our cruise is here

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Every floor has a big room like this, with different sitting arrangements

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Another tourist boat, a rather pretty one, docked next to us

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We got to the top of the boat and found this view

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and a few fishermen working not far from here, one of them is right next to us

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Not far from the port itself has a community with houses built right out of water

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Good bye Dali.

The morning fog still circling around other side gave such an awe-inspiring mystery surrounding those mountains on the other side.

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and you could sorta-see the lighthouse on the end of that stretch of land.

and a small town sprawling up somewhere in the middle.

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We are going to stop by a couple islands before getting there.  Though it doesn’t looked that far, it would be quite a while before we get to the first island.  Before long, we were hauled into this large room for some of their performances

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Girls and guys dressed in local ethnic clothes doing traditional dances

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and local instruments

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Another performance about marriage… On the wedding day, the groom carries the bride around the audiences for her to get pinched from everyone, the harder the better.  The girl who drove us this morning told us, the more purple and red blotches she gets, the better blessing.

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All the while, three courses of tea was served.  The first one is bitter, symbolizing life usually starts out with hardships.  The second one is sweet, meaning after persistent hard work, sweetness will come. The third course has a long after taste, savoring the entire course of life.

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These red-beaked seagulls followed our boat everywhere, simply because there were always people feeding them.

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We have arrived our first island.  It is so small that it only fits one temple…

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and peddlers used up all the remaining space

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The temple

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Though the back of the temple is actually pretty nice and quiet

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As we were leaving, they quickly wrapped up their stands, apparently, we are the only guests to this place…

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a view of the island

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We are closer to the other side now

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The second island is a lot bigger than the first… thank god.  and it’s got quite a few buildings and shops or tourists

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A welcoming fountain at the port

with very embarrassing English (just in case you were wondering, it’s cautioning you about falling into the water)

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then there is a hill…

 

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With a huge Buda on top of it… and other Buda sitting on top of its head

And there is this mansion-style resort behind the religious plaza.  Some celebrity built it and charges 800 USD per night….

 

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but it does offer a stunning view of Erhai in its garden

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And you could always take a stroll along the back of the island.

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These rocks must be special, so special that it’s got its name inscribed on themselves.

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This side of the island feels like another world, so different from the tourist-infested other side.

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Com’on in! What a perfect place for a  morning yoga.

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not far from the back garden is a beach with interesting sculptures

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and people wondering up and down the hill around the park

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Behind its reclusive walls I found a small hotel, complete with garden and serenity

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Don’t be fooled by its simple and plain decoration, it’s got everything you needed, including the internet.

What a view from this door, I wish my house always has this view at its door.

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The park behind this little hotel

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and a bride is taking pictures of her groom

We took a small boat out of the island to get to the shore of the other side

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The town on the shore is Shuanglang (双朗), or Double-Clear Sky.  It is a typical beach town in the summer.

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Most of the town has traditional buildings like this

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Except for the port, where it is decked out in modern fashion

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After-noon teas, besides selling ginger, fruits, and nuts teas, this shop also sells drugged-teas (first item on the menu read as the “poison tea”)

The weather was so mild that the ice cream stand still worked… ice cream anyone?

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The town was very typical

with a small temple

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How ersi noodles were made: take a rice sheet, roll it up, cut it into sections, and each section unrolls itself into a noodle strand.

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then got onto a car for some 30km ride back to Dali, passing many interesting village houses along the way

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Tried some pickled pears… honestly, I’d prefer a fresh pear instead….

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Found a church in the residential section of the town…

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It was the most red-looking church I’ve seen, I guess Christ’s blood and Chinese festivity color go very well together.

It’s even got a bible training class

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The walls around the church were decorated in Chinese paintings illustrating stories in the Bible

Most of the houses in the residential area were renovated; some, you could still tell their ancientness.  Until you hit this one, its entire wall is leaning back so badly that you worry if it’s going to crash down at any moment.

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Back to the big streets of the commercial area

Gotta love this tiny porridge place – I doubt I could walk through its door straight up.  It must been so popular since the note on the window says that all of the porridges (all 9 types, as posted on its eaves) were sold out.  This was only afternoon, we haven’t gotten into the dinner time of the day yet.

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For dinner, we asked a tree bark dish

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and a spicy cold dish with some Erhai lake plant

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