Happy 2011! We jumped into the new year in Yunnan.
While of course China is China everywhere, Yunnan really felt like the China you might picture in your mind: Small villages, lots of little vegetable plots, rice terraces, colorful clothes, interesting (in a good way) food, and lots of very friendly people and beautiful nature.
We travelled from Yunnan's capital city Kunming up to its northwest, to Dali, Xizhou, Lijiang, and finally to Shangri-La.
Here are some pictures from our days in Kunming and first few days at Xizhou, which is just to the north of Dali.
Simon and Thomas in the Stone Forest (Shilin) about on hour outside Kunming.
Now you know why it is called a Stone Forest.
Relaxing in the Stone Forest.
Going up and down the stairs in the Stone Forest.
In the middle of Kunming, we took a boat ride among lots of birds and people.
More boats in the city park in Kunming.
Yunnan hotpot: Delicious food that you cook yourself. It's kind of like fondue. You just boil your vegetables, meat or fish in the hotpot in front of you.
From Kunming, we took the bus to Dali, and from there went to Xizhou, a little town just north of it. We stayed at the Linden Center, which was a wonderful place to stay, for both kids and parents. The picture above shows the view from the patio. The weather, by the way, was cool but lovely.
Back in Dali, we took a chair lift up and did a wonderful hike in the mountains. The hike was definitely China-style: up with one chairlift - walk 10 kilometer on pavement - and down with a second chairlift.
View of Dali and nearby lake Erhai.
After our hike, we explored downtown Dali. While Dali is nice, the hot pot vegetables were the most eyecatching!
Near Xizhou and Dali, we went to another small town to see how batik clothes were made. The boys loved watching this young man stir the pots with dye and fabrics.
The end result. (The real end result was of course that we bought a piece.)
From the "batik factory" we were taken to the house of someone's mom (and surely someone's grandma) who was weaving fabrics.
Before we arrived at the batik place, we stopped at this place along the road where a few women belonging to the Bai people (a minority group in China), were offering up a chicken.
Village man. (We promised to send this photo to him.)
We rode home in this motorized tricycle - great fun.
In the afternoon, we went out by horse carriage. Thomas made a new friend.
By horse, we went to the lake, where we watched the local fishermen fish. (Well, we watched them put on a tourist act, but we did see fish). They cormorants (aalscholvers) are trained to catch the fish and bring them back to the boat. (It helps of course that they can't swallow the fish because of a ring around their necks.)
Some local fishermen.
Home of the cormorants.
We often made quick prayer stops at local temples. Temples always include lots of colorful statues, beautiful art work, and interesting temple keepers.
Scary blue man. (I suppose each religion has a way of whipping people into shape.)
Beautiful -- and hard working -- woman.
Yummy fruit at the market.
Samenvatting in het nederlands: Dit zijn natuurlijk foto's van onze vakantie in Yunnan. In Kunming zijn we naar Shilin, een "bos van steen" gegaan, en vandaar naar Dali en Xizhou.