Trip Start May 03, 2005
Trip End Jun 08, 2005

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Lijiang Prefecture and the town of Lijiang is home mainly to the Naxi peoples, there are a few peoples from Tibet, but these mainly tend to live higher up on the plateau near Zhongdian, Deqin (Shangrila) etc, where as the Musuo a much smaller peoples group live near lovely Lugu Lu (lake Lugu).

The town of Lijiang is split into two areas, the new town and the old town. The old town is built in the centuries old traditional wood stylye of the Naxi peoples, and the streets generally have fresh mountain water either flowing through them in canals, or under them.

The peoples are very friendly, many in the old town run businesses, aimed at providing the many tourists with genuine Naxi memorabilia, there are ancient and new products, lots of tea stores, plenty of food outlets where you can try Yak butter milk tea, yak meat sandwiches, dried yak meat, yak meat burgers, etc. Obviously there is are other foods, yesterday I came across a naxi French food bar, and guess what the majority of the chinese tourists were eating? Yes, you guessed it Snails!

Lijiang is also home to a number of westerners who have decided to settle here, teaching English, French, etc. There is a real international sense in the town, which bodes well given that the old town has ben made a UNESCO World Heritage site following a major earthquake in 1992, which damaged much of the surrounding area, including some of the old town. Surprisingly however, the authorities have taken note that much of the old town survived the quake almost undamaged, and have ordered that the damaged area to the north of the town be rebuilt in traditional method's.

Lijiang is another a hot-spot for Chinese tour groups (they are easy to spot with their matching hats and flag bearing leader). The Chinese love their history, so Lijiang with its ancient buildings intact as well as having a pretty impressive maze of canals winding through the city is a must for them, and dare I say for most western tourists also. Just take a leisurely stroll through town and you'll see cameras everywhere with a multitude of cameramen posing their subjects in front of all the scenic spots.
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