Dali, China is a small walled city in Yunnan province. The streets are cobbled and cozy, the air is crisp and clear, and the city is sandwiched between a giant crystal blue lake on one side and looming green mountains on the other. It was love at first sight.
Dali is also home to the Bai minority group. These are people that look more Tibetan then Chinese and wear beautiful bright clothing and wide, bright pink hats. The younger women work at the stores and the older women seem to walk around the tourist area trying to sell little homemade knick-knacks or snacks. Being a western tourist they constantly approached us. For some reason they didn’t annoy us as much as people in other cities. Maybe it was because of their cherubic wrinkled old faces, maybe it was because of their cute high pitched voices, or maybe it was because along with their cute face and voice they would end a conversation with, “smoka ganga?” (We tried taking a picture of a few of the old ladies but they refused, so we respected their wishes and didn’t even take a sneaky picture of them. If you want to see a picture and learn more about them you can go to this site.)
Dali is a former hippie haunt and while it has more of a hipster/cafe culture feel to it now, the hippie element is still there most notably in the form of “smoka ganga.” Marijuana is not legal in China and I’m not sure how/if it is legal here. Perhaps the minority groups have different laws? I’m not sure. And to be honest anywhere else I would normal get annoyed at little old ladies bugging us about pot, but everyone that approached us just had the sweetest smiles and cute little voices that only made me giggle as we walked away.
Here are some more pics of Dali. We didn’t do a ton of different things around here, rather we just relaxed, sat in cafes and enjoyed the warm sun. (It didn’t help that we were both feeling sick at this point so we didn’t have much energy.) This is without a doubt our favorite place we have been so far and we wish we had some more nights, but the road calls!
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