Tuesday, November 23, 2010

China Yun Nam trip Day 4 Dali & Lijiang 16 Nov 2010

On the morning of our 4th day in China, we were on our last day in Dali and we visited the famous Chongsheng Temple with the historic 3 Pagodas.

In the olden China, Dali was a kingdom (Dali Kingdom) aka the "Nanzhao Dynasty", ruled by for 22 generations by the "Duan's". Buddhism was the state religion and 10 out of its 22 kings had given up their throne during their time to become buddhist monks. And the 3 pagodas were the place where these kings gave up their imperial lifestyle and ordained as monks. Much of the temple were destroyed by wars and natural disasters and only the 3 pagodas were the original buildings that was relatively intact throughout the years.

After visiting Chongsheng Temple, we left Dali and headed to Lijiang.

The first stop at Lijiang was the old town center, where it is now listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. This town center was the distribution site for merchants whom travelled the Ancient Tea Route or literally translated from Mandarin, the "Tea Horse Old Route" (茶马古道). According to history, China merchants travelled far and wide to trade tea with neighbouring countries and Lijiang was one of the prominent stopover place along their trade route. This famous "Tea Horse Old Route" was supposedly to have equal historical importance to the "Silk Road".

The native minority there is known as the Nakhi tribe (納西族). The Nakhi tribe have their origins from the foothils of the Himalayas. They are very musically inclined and we saw our local Nakhi tour guide singing most of the time while describing sights along the way! Again, we are taught how to address the local men and women. We have to address the local ladies as "Fat Golden Sister" () and the local men as "Fat Black Brother" (哥).

As to why the locals address each other as fat and dark is because in Lijiang, it is not easy to find a rotound local because of the tough environment and climate. And in Lijiang, big is beautiful.

No wonder I get all kinds of sheepish stares from the local ladies... hehe..

Back to the Nakhi tribe, during the days of the tea trading times, most of the goods were carried by horses by the merchants and the Nakhi tribe, being in the center of this ancient route, were the couriers and forwarders of the merchants. Since they are well known for their toughness and stamina, there were the horsemen for the merchants and they form their own horse gangs () to ensure that they are kept safe from mountain bandits by travelling together.

Our tour guide in Dali, Ms 芳, whom is also of the Bai tribe but in modern attire

Mrs Neo and Isabel Neo with a local Bai tribe lady in Dali

3 Pagodas in Chongsheng Temple, Dali

Local Nakhi Tribe dressed as the Horse Gang from olden days in Lijiang

Did I mention that Yak is as popular as Beef in Lijiang?

From See the rest of the pictures from Day 4 in China here!

Monday, November 22, 2010

China Yun Nam trip Day 3 Dali 15 Nov 2010

On the 3rd day of our Yun Nam China trip, we were enroute to Dali and we visited a dinosaur remains extraction site where it was converted into a museum.

Once we reached Dali, we were greeted by another warm and friendly tour guide whom belonged to the local tribe aka Bai Tribe (白族). Their tribal dresses reminds us of the HongKong martial arts drama serials we watched many years ago. Most of these dramas were based on works from the author "Jin Yong" (金庸). And it's a fact that most of his literary works are based on the cultures of many lesser tribes of the Yun Nam province. So visiting Dali was like entering the olden towns of the pugilistic world of Jin Yong.

Again, it was advised that we address the local ladies appropriately. And this time, we have to call them "Golden Flower" in Mandarin. ()

Here we go again. However, the complications of each and every tribal locals way of addressing their males and females does indeed reflect the complexity of its languages and how their culture is intricate and their customs kept till this day.

I should probably say "our" language since me and my family should be classified under the "Han People" (汉族). Now we know that we, the Han People, are of the largest population/race in the world!. Cheers to that!

Though notably, the Han People had been conquered by the lesser tribes such as the "Man People" (满族) and resulted in the Qing Dynasty.

Enough of China's history and here are some of the pictures!

Click here to see the rest of the pics from day 3!

China Yun Nam trip Day 2 Kun Ming 14 Nov 2010

On the 2nd day, we visited a local tourist shopping site which retails jade and Chinese medicinal herbs aka "7 colours of Yun Nam". Nothing spectacular there except for.. well.. making you spend the tourist dollars.

After we left the 7 colours of Yun Nam, we were brought to DaGuan Park (大观公园). At this park, there is a stream that leads to Lake Dian (滇池), which is a very large lake and is of strategic battle location during the warring period. The special attraction here was the 2-storeyed pavilion that was built in the 17th century. And on the entrance of the pavilion was a couplet verse written by a famous poet, Sun Rangweng, whom crafted one of the longest couplets ever written. According to our tour guide, the couplet first verse mentions of the nice scenery and magnificent structure of the pavilion and the complimentary second verse speaks of how sorrowful it is to know that many have battled and died here and their names lost in history.

I know I won't be lost in history as long as Google and Blogger continues to host my blogs and pictures for free!!

We had dinner that came with a show.. In my opinion, it sucks and the food is dreadfully minimal in its portions.





See the rest of the pictures of day 2 here!

China Yun Nam trip Day 1 Kunming 13 Nov 2010

Christine, Isabel and myself went on a trip to the southern part of China in "Yun Nam" for a holiday.

The trip includes the tour of Kunming, Lijiang, Dali and Shangri-La.

These are the pictures from Day 1 in Kunming.

We visited the caves and gorges of Jiuxiang.

Next, the tour guide brought us to the Stone Forest (石林).

It was an geological wonder and it is aptly named. You could literally get lost in the heaps of giant stones. The place owes its creation from the tectonic plates movements which resulted in huge undersea rocks and corals were raised above the sea level and form the "stone forest" of today. Some of the larger and taller rocks have clear horizontal cracks on it which according to the guide, was caused by the erosion of the surface of the sea when it was still submerged.

A wee bit about the local customs and culture..

We learnt that Yun Nam have many tribes, the one most prominent in Kunming is the Yi Tribe ( )

In Kunming, it is rude to address the local ladies as "姐" because the term is commonly used to associate with KTV hostesses and prostitutes in China. To address a young "YI" woman proper in Kunming, we have to call them "Ashima" so as to get their attention.

More ways to address a woman in different parts of Yun Nam later.

Franklin, Christine & Isabel at Shilin, Stone Forest in Kunming, China

Many apologies for pics not well taken due to new camera.
Also, the short timing for each tourist site means I gotta learn the trust the metering instead of taking the time for trial and error.

Click here to see the rest of the album for Day 1.