Day 113: Dali (大理) – October 8th

Two days was enough for us in one place, especially when the place sort of looks like the place you were last time, and the place before that as well….

The night before, we ventured further out of the old town and came across this beautifully designed hotel, and as we peeked around we discovered they served Western-style breakfast!! We ordered ourselves two breakfasts and thought we’d have a good meal before we left.

The hotel is Bivou (www.bivou.com), and the hotel owner was a young Singaporean, speaking eloquently and probably well-educated as she passionately discussed the area and its native Naxi people. The hotel was designed meticulously fusing the local architectural aspects with modern chic, and each suite has a slightly different flavour. Best part was their own courtyard which they grew fresh herbs and spices! The breakfast was great, too!

Departing for Dali, we had high expectations as everyone spoke highly of the place. Also, it’s called Dali, enough said. (For those unaware, Salvador Dali is one of my favorite artists!). So when we arrived, we were some blown away by, well, its rather un-Lijiang like atmosphere. The old town had very few of the “Walt Disney touristy” feel to it, but instead felt like a regular street with locals outnumbering tourists. If you look past the poorly decorated streets, you’d still notice a lot of gems of interesting shops, and a lot of foreigners!

Sitting down at a small restaurant at 7pm or so, this was no ordinary restaurant. This place is well-regarded for its delicious meals, and its owner/chef. The place has no servers (they do have one, but we aren’t sure what he does) as you have to set your own table, pickup your own dishes, and even clean up the table after you’re done!! And the owner, well, lets just say he’s a special character as he’s famous for having the worst temper ever! Picking up your dishes too slow from the kitchen, you get yelled at. Ordering a dish that takes too much work, he’ll let you know about it. Normally, you could hear him yelling at customers a long way away, but the day we arrived he seemed quiet and restrained…hehe. His temper was gone, but so was his cooking skills and we didn’t find his dishes impressive at all…not to mention we had to wait about 1hr 45mins!!

While we were waiting for our dishes, a foreign couple sat down in the table next to us. They didn’t seem like they knew the ‘rules’ of the place, so we chatted with them for a bit. Turns out they only wanted beers, but this started a long and interesting conversation with them. The dude from was Barcelona while the girl was from Amsterdam, and they have been traveling for 6 months now, mostly in south-east Asia. We shared a bit of our travel tips and places to go with them, and they shared their colourful stories both back home and during their travels with us. We ended up chatting til midnight, and unfortunately we must’ve ate something bad in Lijiang as we were experience upset stomachs and too many beers were the last thing on our mind, so we said farewell and called it a night.

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