On the Highway

Our campy group dissolved as people were moving on to other places. It’s sunny today. I want to do laundry but the machine is full. I walk around Dali for the first time in search of breakfast. I go for the savory bread.image

There’s the usual towers for the remaining city walls and a couple of temples. Foreign Street and whatever this creek street is. It’s too early for the shops and I like quiet mornings.image  imageI run into one guy that I met yesterday. It was too late for them to go to the top of the mountain but they were going back today. He tells me about the mushrooms and other things they found.


Foreign Street


what I call creek street


Back at the hostel, I do laundry while looking over the amazing views.  

As the machine does the work, I go for lunch. Yes, I’m making up for yesterday’s lack of food. I go back to the restaurant and attempt to order delicious things. There’s chicken with scallions and green peppers and eggplant too but not the good one from last night. That eggplant was so good. Today’s has too much oil. 

I go back to hang up my laundry. I want to rent a moped again but this time choose a different route. The women tells me how far I can ride and where the charger is. I check out her map for ideas and settle on the three pagodas and something called YangJuba Ruins.

I head out on the highway. I’m not going fast enough but stay in the shoulder. It hardly matters as all sorts of vehicles fill the highway. Honking ensues.

The pagodas are in sight. I pullover at the round about in front. Guidebooks say there’s not much to see inside the park so there’s no reason to pay the entrance fee. 

 I’m not sure how this traffic pattern works. I thought it was one way but everyone is going where they please at the circle. I wait for a break and go. I keep following the highway but not sure where I’m going. I’m hoping for signs or for the ruins to be visible from the road. 

 Not having any luck finding the ruins, I try to turn toward the lake. I cut across to get onto the other highway. Okay. One more turn will lead me to the lake or so I thought. After a couple dead ends in random villages, I find the right road.

Picture time! 

I stop on the edge of the lake where a patch of wild flowers are growing. I take a photo for two women and they return the favor. A whole photo shoot here! Further up the road, I spy some teens swimming. 

  IMG_5541IMG_5539IMG_5540Driving outside Dali reminds me of Poland, way back in the early 90s. The worn houses with matching people. The farm animals and the smell of hay. It’s comforting.IMG_5543IMG_5544

part of my photo shoot

Instead of turning off the road into the village like the first time, I pass it to continue on the road along the lake. There’s some guys fishing. The road eventually moves far from the lake’s shore and here I decide to turn back as it’s getting late. 

    IMG_5550IMG_5551I make a wrong turn somewhere in one of the villages and end up on the highway again. No problem, I turn down a different street to go back. A few dead ends later, I’m back on the lake. IMG_5552

IMG_5553I keep going and the air gets cold. Of course when I don’t have my jacket it’s cold. A few more photos and I’ve had enough. Google shows a road, not a trail to the highway for a quick get away.

Oh google where are you taking me? The road is rocky and I wonder how the moped can handle it. I move slowly wondering when the road will end. It keeps going… And going. Then highway is in sight and I’m free! IMG_5554

Evening rides are not fun. The bugs are out and I keep my mouth firmly closed. Bugs hit me and I can imagine what I look like. It’s not completely dark by the time I return the moped.

I go back to the hostel to fold my neglected laundry and to check for bug splatter. I guess I wasn’t going fast enough so I look okay. Now it’s time for dinner. I check out one restaurant but as I suspected it was all western food. I keep walking and spot a busy place selling soup and grilled things. I’m not thrilled with the thought of eating noodles but there’s nothing better around. 

I’m lost with how to order. I point at the bowls he has set up. He understands. I try to figure out how to order grilled food but the lady is busy. The cook hands me a tray. I see other people piling on their selections and I do the same. Zucchini and mushrooms it is. I’m not sure about the meat. I don’t know what to do next. Eventually I sit down but it’s not clear if I’ll get any food. I wait awhile and slowly the dishes appear. It’s so good! Up to this point I’ve been having subpar noodles. If only I found this place sooner! 


After stuffing my face I continue walking. I see a Bai woman selling a few things. I check out the slippers and clearly it’s handmade. She pulls out a chair and insists I try them on. The fit wasn’t quite right unfortunately so I pass on them. 

I never did find that bakery.


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