i didn't like lijiang yesterday when i arrived, but the place is starting to grow on me. if you can overlook the horde of tourists and the how every old house on the main street has been converted to a souvenir shop or a restaurant bar (and a lot of homes on the side streets converted into guest houses), then it's not too bad.
i woke up early in the morning (7am, which for me is early) and went wandering the streets when most of the shops haven't opened yet and the tourists not yet arrived. it didn't take long for everything to change though: by 8am there were already people, and by 9am there were A LOT of people. word on the street is i have to wake up even earlier (gasp!), like 5am, if i wanted to see some sweet naxi daily routine action.
after some photo taking and breakfast, i moved out of my old guesthouse (behind a noisy bar) to a more quiet place up on the hill. there i met four 40something year old guys from chengdu here in lijiang on vacation. we struck up a conversation and chatted about american and china for a few hours, with a break for lunch in between (spicy sichuan noodles and dumplings).
afterwards i climbed the hill behind my new guesthouse, which give me a great view of the old town. coming downhill, i stopped by a 200 year old house owned by an old naxi man whom i chatted with for an hour, about naxi culture and the earthquake of 1996 that destroyed parts of old lijiang.
further down the hill i came across the korean bar/hotel (well, actually owned by a taiwanese guy) that i heard about from yesterday (when i was hanging out with all those koreans). a met a taiwanese photographer trying to start a business photographing lijiang. we chatted for a few hours, and watched as he negotiated a business deal and deftly avoided the taiwan-china question that always seems to come up whenever a mainland chinese person hears you're from taiwan.
i came back to the guesthouse to put on a jacket before going out for dinner. more spicy noodles plus some smelly tofu which was nothing like the smelly tofu from taiwan, but i ate it all anyway, imagining that it was.
so i really didn't do anything today, other than basically chatting with different people. it helps to speak the local vernacular (chinese). i wonder if the other foreign tourists are getting as much an education as i am.