i can tell you right now, if you're ever in the lijiang area, don't bother going to baisha, it's not worth it. since i had nothing else to do, i figured i'd go just for kicks. apparently there's a bus that takes you close to baisha, but i couldn't find it, and in fustration flagged down a taxi. when told where i wanted to go, she suggested i take the baisha shuttle bus instead. so for RMB$7 she brought me to where the bus location. there's no schedule, the driver basically leaves when the bus fills up. i only had to wait 10 minutes before we left.

i got dropped off in front of this temple-museum complex. the admission used to be RMB$2 but now it's increased to RMB$30. reluctantly i paid. there really wasn't anything inside other than a few ancient chinese structures (all recently painted, you can still smell the fumes) and some heavily damaged murals. it started raining and i hung out in the temple with the large golden buddha, waiting for the rain to stop.

i had more fun out of the temple. i first chatted with a lady who was doing some chinese embroidery. i don't recall ever seeing someone actually doing it, so it was pretty interesting. next i went into the actual town, where it was swamped for foreign tourists who got here on bikes, as recommended by lonely planet. a lot of people were congregating in the office of doctor ho, a local chinese medicine practitioner. his entire office was covered with international publicity and claims of his magical elixirs that apparently can do things like cure cancer. i didn't want any part of that weirdness, but sat down with a session with the famous doctor anyway. he took my pulse (like a real doctor!) then prescribed some chinese medicine in the form of a powder that he said would cure my cough in a week if i drank the stuff everyday three times a day. i asked how much and he said it was free but i insisted (trying to be nice) and he said a small donation would be okay, and rather reluctantly i paid him RMB$20.

next i had a chat with a naxi man. i couldn't be sure, but i think he was gay, because he was really interested in how gay people lived in america and told me he had a "close friend who's gay but in a marriage." he was also particularly touchy feeling, and sometimes i caught him just studying my face.

it started raining again, this time heavily, and i hid in a shop with 2 british boys. we shared our china travel experiences, particularly the political aspects (one of them was a political science student).

when the rain finally stopped, the naxi man and i took the shuttle bus back to lijiang old town. when it came time to say good bye, i stuck out my hand for a handshake but he embraced me in an awkward hug.