Old Tea Trade Route, Lijiang, Yunnan, China

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We were warned about the sun in this bare land.  Since it would be so windy and we are at a much higher altitude, we were asked to cover up our faces if we still want to look the same after the trip.

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A guy about 20 years of age took us in with this family horses…

“You guys came from Beijing?” He looked at us rather interested, “I never been out of Yunnan.”

“Why?”  I was rather surprised, “come to Beijing.” A train ticket costs only a couple hundred yuan.

“I quit school before I could graduate from elementary school.” He said,  “My family was too poor to afford my school, and then we got in this business.”

We have to pass through his village in order to get to the old tea trading route….

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Most people in the village got big houses, but they only live on the second floor, the first floor is for live stocks…

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This hill is part of the ancient tea trading route

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Then he sped up his horses a bit. At the time I was still holding on my camera to take pictures.  Then I tried to hold onto the bars on the saddle when I started loosing my balance on the saddle.  Before I knew it, I landed on butt with my camera….

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At the time, I couldn’t feel anything on my right side, and the rest of my body was in so much pain that I thought I was in big trouble. Then same other villagers came out from nearby and helped me to get up.  The guy found one side of this saddle wasn’t tied up properly, hence why I lost balance. He was panicking so much that he offered to send me to the hospital several times, but my pain soon went away.

Since I felt ok and I knew I couldn’t really get the guy to help me financially, there is really nothing I could do but to get this fixed myself.

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Lovers Lake

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You could see the famous Jaded Snow Mountain from behind these hills

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We took a break at this horse barn, where women sold tourists some beans to feed the horses.  5 yuan for a small bowl of beans… “com’on, the horses will be very unhappy if you didn’t feed them.”  Oh really?  I thought I already paid for my horse guy to feed my horse?

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Coming back to the village, we get to pass by the lake next to Lijiang, or Lashihai (Lashi Sea)

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We passed by fields of dead corn fields by the village.  They reminded me the sad truth of winter, but then I guess that’s why they are free to take us on their horses too Smile

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Back to the ranch, this is a typical collaborative ranch, where each countryside family is given four horses by the government to take care of, and they take turns to take tourists on their horses.

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After returning the horses, we strolled to the dock for our boat.

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Getting in.

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Starting these iron boats isn’t as easy as you think since the dock is on the bank of a swamp.  To get to the lake itself you have to wade through the swamp first.

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Managing a boat through the swamp you need another person to help… this 15 year-old decided to help us.

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You could still see houses on a little plateau up this mountain… I wonder how convenient is it to get from there down here then climb back.

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“So what type of lake is this?” I asked as I almost dipped my hands in the water for a taste.

“It’s definitely a sea,” the boy told me, “it’s so vast that it’s gotta to be a sea”

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We found a bunch of flamingos running between the horse ranch and the dock…

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and some other local exotic birds

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on our way to Suhe (束河), we found another view of the Jaded Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山)

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Arriving Suhe.

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The local delicacy street.

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They sold all sorts of funny foods that I’ve never seen before.  Foods on the left photo is to be grilled, foods on the right photo is the desserts

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Our first course is the grilled sausages

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We ordered stir-fried bees and water dragonflies for our second course.  I had to say that I liked the bees much better than the dragonflies.

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and of course, everyone probably had the same feeling… the bees were done way before we could come even close to finish up the dragonflies

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Night of the main plaza in Lijiang….

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We found a Dongba paper shop, apparently Dongba is a local type of paper.  It is renowned for its thousand-year enduring quality.  Its tough material that does not decay in water, or by worms.  Many original historical literatures were printed in these and kept till today.

The shopkeeper happened to know Dongba writing as well, so we wrote a couple words in Chinese and he hand-print them into Dongba calligraphy words.