Dali Sucks You In

Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Where I stayed
The Jade Emu International Guest House Dali
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Monday, September 5, 2011

I first heard of Dali from Francisca that I met in Vipassana. She was scheduled to study and reside there starting today. I timed it a bit to meet up with her there but once she emailed me to let me know she was stuck in Vietnam after having appendicitis, I was still happy to have discovered this place. Dali is a charming city sandwiched between the mountains of Cang Shan and Erhai Lake.

Based on a recommendation, I checked into Jade Emu, owned by Dave an Australian, and is one of those places that just sucks you in. People come for a couple of days and inevitably stay for months on end. Dave and his wife do a fabulous job considering everything their guests would desire including a large pool table always in use, offering a pleasant place for everyone to socialize.

Ultimately I befriended quite a few people here including Serena a Chinese girl who spent a large part of her life studying in the States; Gary, an ex-marine from the UK who I later met up with in the Tiger Leaping Gorge; Yotam, an Israeli who joined me for the hike up the mountain one day; and another couple who shed some light on traveling through India.

One day in Dali I took a nice bike ride down to the lake and through the local villages, it was more like a lot of backtracking trying to find a valid road along the lake (the seventh largest freshwater lake in China), but it was nice just the same to observe the Bai people in their natural habitat. Another day was spent hiking from our hostel to the top of Cang Shan for a view of the lake and city at an elevation of 11,000 feet. The peak stands at 13,5000ft.

I don't know if it was that I was tired or a result of the laid back vibe, that I never managed to leave the hostel before noon the entire time I was in Dali. Around Dali there are markets nearly every day including one at Shuangiang, just down the street from the hostel. I went there on a mission to find peanut brittle per Jane’s recommendation instead I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw four stalls of Dentists setting up shop between the shoes and chili vendors.

Two highlights of my time here were getting a Thai style massage from Ryo, a Japanese traveler who has recently set up camp in Dali and came referred by local French woman, and the wild night at the Jade Emu bar hanging with Maria, the Polish girl I met on the sleeper train, an American guy from Seattle with the funkiest accent I’ve ever heard and the life of the party Kai aka Pamela Andersom, a drag queen from Amsterdam who kept the beer and plum wine flowing. It was a bit of drunk fest with some singing and dancing to whatever disco was on the playlist. Note there wasn’t much, not Dave’s favorite. Good times!
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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