After two nights in Kunming, we were off again, heading west to the town of Dali. This destination was pretty uneventful, especially since Jason had come down with a cold. The popular attractions in Dali are the three pagodas, which cost 120 ($20usd) yuan/person and a cable car that takes you halfway up a mountain for 160 ($26usd) yuan/person. None of this really seemed worth it to us. Even if we were on vacation, we wouldn’t do something like this. Everything in China is still much more expensive than we thought and you really don’t get much for your money.
The “Old Town” of Dali is the area that most tourists flock to for the shopping and walking of the small streets. There is a portion of the old city wall that has been restored and is very appealing. What wasn’t appealing (at least to us) were the masses of Chinese tour groups that crowd the streets, which makes even walking down them a stressful situation. We’ve started to see a change in the locals as we move west. The Bai people of Dali wear colorful clothing and carry baskets on their back to haul anything from groceries bought at the local market to construction materials or anything else they need to move from one spot to the next. Basically we took some walks through the town and worked on researching our future destinations, something that is never-ending while traveling long-term.
We had booked a hotel for two nights down by the lake on Booking.com that said we could use our credit card. We got a ride from our first hotel down to the water’s edge only to find out that they would not accept our credit card. Luckily the good people at Dali Mountain Delights where we first stayed were nice enough to come back, pick us up and provide us with another room for the remainder of our stay. They were very helpful and the only people that we found to speak English in the entire town. In China, many places that except credit cards will only accept a Chinese credit card, so if it says they accept credit cards, email or call to confirm that they will accept a “foreign” credit card. We have come across very few foreign tourists and understand that not many people are going to speak English, but it is just really frustrating not being able to communicate. We’re getting a little worried about having this same problem in Europe.