3 – Lijiang
– We arrived in LiJiang sometime in the mid-afternoon. Since it had been Craig’s favorite city, we were excited to have a look look. All I really knew about Lijiang beforehand was that it was some beautiful “Old City”…one of those world heritage sites or something (the only buildings were preserved and it was supposed to be beauuutiful). So, you can imagine our surprise when we were welcomed to the “old city” by a brand new Pizza Hut and KFC.
– Next, we wandered the streets noticing that everything seemed to be closed. And the things that weren’t closed…well, they all looked the same. The shops sold the same scarves, wood carvings, and horrible CD (a one track CD…I don’t know how I forget what the words were since they haunted me in my dreams for weeks). But seriously, whereas most cities have street signs and landmarks that you can use to navigate the roads, this city was a giant maze of old buildings with touristy souvenirs (oh and thousands and thousands of Chinese tourists….who, like the average Chinese citizen, seem to have a difficult time walking at a sufficient pace and well, in a straight line. Zigzag patterns of walking are highly encouraged.
– Seriously though, the city was really pretty..and clean. But it was night one that tragedy struck. Vinny made his typical trip to the hospital to buy some cold medicine (I bought some, also). But, having the stronger immune system, I was able to head out with Craig while Vinny sat in our hotel room and moped.
– Craig and I were to look for “The Stone Crow,” a bar that he really liked the first time he was in Lijiang. As we walked the city for what seemed like days, it became pretty obvious that we were never going to find it. Therefore, we stopped in some bar and looked at the menu. The drinks were way too expensive, and so we asked the waitress if she knew where “The Stone Crow” was. She responded saying something about it being closed, but we couldn’t fully understand what she was explaining. Anyway, we left that bar and continued to look, figuring she was lying to us.
– While searching for the bar, we inevitably got lost and had to stop in some hostel to ask for directions back. It was there that a giant bear-dog named Yak jumped up on me and tried to eat my face. Luckily, I had Onomatopoeia to protect me. Anyhow, we eventually made it back…as failures.
– Upon re-entering the room, we found an apologetic Vinny vomiting into a trashcan at his bedside. On top of his cold, he seemed to have caught a stomach virus. Unfortunate.
– During the night, I woke up to Craig coughing. Coughing then turned into a mad dash to the bathroom where he would become the second victim of the mad stomach virus. For the next 5 or so hours, I hid under my covers trying to hide from the germy atmosphere on the other side that could cause me to join the vomit crew.
– In the morning, I got up and rushed out of the room before I could catch their illness. Some Chinese man then tried to get me to ride his horse for the day or something. Then he thought I was going with some other woman and told me that it was “Terrible! Terrible! She used to be my wife” before storming away. I then decided to go to the Emerald Pool or something (some lake with one of the most iconic picture spots in all of southern China…or so some guide book said).
– At the “pool”: I was under the impression that I had to pay about 80 Yuan or something. But then I saw people walk through, and thought to myself, “perhaps, paying is optional.” I was on the phone so I meandered through the gate and waited for someone to apprehend me. No one came, and that is how I accidentally snuck in. So, I walked around for a while and then hiked up this mountain. It was here that some man in a red jacket began stalking me….or he just so happened to be walking the same pace as me and taking the exact same breaks as me for the entire duration of the upward hike. Once again, I was glad to heave my “weapon”…aka trophy. However, on the way back down he was able to out-stride him and reach the bottom without having to unleash the fury of Onomatopoeia.
– For the rest of the day, I ignored some little girl who was hitting the bench I was napping on as she yapped, “MISTER, MISTER, MISTER!” Sorry little girl, I was busy pretending my music was too loud to hear you.
– The next day, I decided to go to the Tiger Leaping Gorge on a day trip. Craig and Vinny were still recuperating so they stayed in. Here I met some other foreigners (a British guy and girl and a Chinese guy from Hunan who lived in England for the better part of his life). We were able to survive such obstacles as the bathroom debacle (you don’t want to know), the bawling Chinese chick who couldn’t handle the unbearable height despite the fact that falling down into the gorge would have taken a lot of effort, and the slowest hikers known to man. We did get some good pictures though, and the day ended as a success
– Night time: Went to eat with Craig and Vinny, then they went home and I went to Ns Kitchen, my favorite sandwich place in Lijiang. The boss suggested that maybe I could go to this bar he had a card for. And wouldn’t ya know: “Stone the Crows.” I could only assume this was “The Stone Crow” that Craig had been talking about so I called him. The boss told me that it had closed, but it was now in a new location.
– Well, what did we discover? It was closed, and the bar that Craig and I stopped in the first night was actually the exact location of where “Stone the Crows” had previously been. Crazy.
– After a few drinks at a restaurant, Craig went home and I went to Check out the clubs. At the first place, I felt a little awkward since I was sat down at a table by myself (well, I guess I had Onomatopoeia with me). However, people immediately invited me to different tables and a dance party started. The highlight was clearly when the oldest man living burst onto the scene and started break dancing. We soon formed the best dance team ever, but it was short-lived as I soon got sick of the European club music and left.
– I then decided to search out some American music, and I found it next door. Immediately, some people invited me to their table (again) and some girls started challenging me to chug offs. Then, when “Baby” came on, I hopped up onto the giant stage and requested a microphone. As the only foreigner in a dead club, they saw nothing to lose and forfeited a mic up to me. Within minutes, people from the club I had previously been in (which just so happened to be connected to the new club), started migrating over and a huge dance-party commenced on stage. Once again though, this was short-lived as Lijiang has a curfew and the music had to be turned off.
– I gave one last go at finding a fun spot, and went across the river-road. I walked into a club and the lights were on and the music was off. Nevertheless, it was still pretty packed. I was only there for a moment when some girl started waving to me. I walked up to their table, and she proclaimed that the girls at their table wanted to take my clothes off. I told her that the lights and lack of music kind of killed the vibe and that wouldn’t be possible. So, we went back to their hostel and sang karaoke in their common room. There were tons of Chinese people about my age and they were all raging. It was a strange sight, and I definitely was aware of the fact that I would not be able to make it back to my hotel. Somehow though, after a few hours of hanging out, I made it back to my hotel (after taking a taxi and instructing him to drive to KFC….the one landmark that I knew…and even that failed me as there was another KFC, also. Eventually, I made it though.)
– Anyway, the next day, I was exhausted and just hung around, went for a massage, and relaxed while Craig and Vinny did the daytrip to the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
– Finally, the day after that, we were off to the airport to fly down south to JingHong (southern Yunnan)