i arrived in dali earlier than expected. once again i sat in seat number 1 (it's only because unlike the other bus riders, i chose to buy my ticket several days in advance). i thought the bus ride would be much longer, but we arrived in town before noon. a crowd of touts surrounded me, asking if i want a ride into the old town, but it was just a short walk away, so i hoofed it instead. i made it to the tibetan cafe, where i got a room for RMB$100/night. after a shower, i came out and the owner of the hotel/restaurant asked if i wanted to have lunch with the staff. after a quick eat, i was out the door, ready to explore dali.
right from the start i like dali. unlike lijiang old town, it's way less commercial, feels like a place where normal chinese people can actually live. as for things to do, there really isn't too much. there's the famous three pagodas but you have to pay RMB$121 to get in (that's more than the cost of my guesthouse room). i just hung around outside, smoking a cheroot cigarette, then walked back into town. all day long in the distance clouds hovered over mountains threating heavy rain but it drizzled lightly at best.
view from the west gate
er hai lake (in distance)
after walking through the busy section of town (wide new streets, some souvenir shops but also just regular stores for regular folks), i came back to the guesthouse, took another shower, and slept for a few hours.
i woke up to go out to dinner, had some pork noodle soup, then wandered around town a little bit more, climbing to the top of the southern gate (for RMB$2) and getting some photos.