Postcards from Yunnan

This is as close as I got to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world's deepest river canyons. I had planned to hike the gorge, but the trail was closed because of a landslide.

View of the Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world’s deepest river canyons, from my bus window.  I had planned to hike a trail that cuts through the gorge, but it was closed due to a landslide.

Scenery

Some of the scenery at a bus stop between Dali and Shangri-La in southwestern China’s Yunnan province.

Shuttlecock

Men take turns kicking a shuttlecock in Dali Old Town. Shuttlecock kicking is a traditional Chinese folk game.

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A walk in the clouds

“It’s cold up there,” the young man in front of me said. “You should rent a coat.”

I was in line for the cable car at the bottom of Cangshan Mountain in Dali, Yunnan province. It was sunny and around 80 F, and I was wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt and shorts. How cold could it possibly be at the top of the mountain?

“I’ll be fine,” I said. Continue reading

Thou shalt build more stairs

I think that in the course of building nearly every major temple and palace in ancient China, a conversation like this took place.

Architect: “It looks great, but there’s something missing.”

Lead foreman: “What is it boss?”

Architect: “I just can’t put my finger on it … .”

Lead foreman: “Bigger Lions? Higher walls to keep the bad guys out?”

Architect: “No, that’s not it … I know! More stairs! We need more stairs. Immediately assemble 100 of your fastest working men and add an additional 1,000 stairs to every entrance of this temple.”

Lead foreman: (Sigh). Yes sir. Continue reading