Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Exploring Dali in Yunnan Province

We hit the road on our comfy private bus, all 15 of us tired and excited to see another new city, Dali. So far we have been to Beijing, then flew to Kunming and drove to Dali.
Our bus trip from Kunming, the capital of the Yunnan province to Dali, in the same province, took more than five hours including stops.

One stop was at an odd dinosaur theme park, which also claimed to be a center of scientific study. Here Barbara plays with the Tyrannosaurus rex.

My favorite part of the theme park exterior (we didn't want to pay to go inside) was these tall walls. Everything built in the public domain in China is massive, huge, expansive - that hit home in Beijing after walking miles and miles thru Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace.

Not everyone drives a traditional car!

Once we arrived in Dali, we explored the old town section. Tourism is now Dali's top source of revenue. In fact, the main drag has been renamed Foreigner's Street and is filled with vendors and tourists.

We got on our bikes and got outside the city.

We saw some crops being tended to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Beijing Acrobats and then on to Kunming in Yunnan

What a surprise and delight to see Philip MacMaster for the first time since 2007. We met in Whistler, Canada, at the Adventure Travel Trade Association conference and have kept in touch since then. I was delighted he came to our Beijing hotel, met our Imagine Tours group and was kind enough to be our after-dinner guide to show us the spectacular performing arts center

Today, in Dali, a smaller city on the Yunnan province, our group got our bicycles, new Giant mountain bikes, provided by Grand China Bike Tours. We aspire to do tricks like these by the end of the tour. These acrobats were in Beijing - note the ones on the bottom look a little less happy.

The acrobatics show made me vow to do more stretching on the road. My yoga practice has fallen by the wayside here in China.
Our group is 15 total, including Nancy Redpath, the Imagine Tours organizer. Two members of our gang are not in this picture which was taken in Kunming, the capital of the Yunnan province in southern China.

One thing our group excels at is eating! This delicious soup is a specialty in Kunming.

Rickshaw Tour of Beijing Gave Behind the Scenes View of Neighborhood

One of my favorite activities so far was an hour-long rickshaw bike tour in one of the neighborhoods of Beijing. No, I didn't do the cycling myself, I just climbed into the back while our "driver" pedaled us along, two of us per bicycle rickshaw. This was a great opportunity to squeeze through narrow alley way like streets and see how people go about their daily lives. It was about 5 p.m. when we set out on this tour, so many people were coming home from work. Here are a few pictures. I especially liked spotting an older woman checking out the rickshaw while it was parked.