Saturday, October 18, 2014

Starkey Mission to China, 2014 - Day 12

Dali to Lijiang, China

Today we head to Lijiang. The bus we have today is quite small compared to the ones we've had so far, and it is about a 2.5 hour drive on mountain roads. It should be interesting...

The bus ride to Lijiang was quite enjoyable. We stopped about two thirds of the way there at a restaurant station for a bio-break and to pick up some food. 

I stuck to my bottled water from the last hotel and sesame snacks I brought with me, but everyone else decided to try the full gambit of local processed food: chips, ice cream, etc.

We rolled into Lijiang around 2 pm.

After checking into the hotel, we split into two groups; those who wanted to go for lunch and those who wanted to go to Old Town. Ros and I went for lunch. The locals had arranged a table for us at a hot pot place where we had a communal hot pot. The main soup dish bubbling over red hot coals contained a variety of things including a rooster's head (complete with comb) and both chicken's feet. Not so appetizing... 

Eventually Mark worked up enough courage to try some of a chicken foot, but no one ventured to try the head. The rest of the items (mushrooms, beef, pork, noodles, and fried chicken skin) was quite good and we washed it down with a big bottle of local beer.

After hot pot, we got a lift back to the hotel and Rosaline and I decided to walk to the closer of the two Old Towns in Lijiang. Old Town was pretty cool and we saw tons of shops selling goods very similar to those in Dali, but at generally better prices. I got some tea and Rosaline picked up a hand-carved stamp for Melanie's son Sebastien. 

One interesting thing about Lijiang (even moreso than Dali) is the fact that there are a lot of dogs here. Many people have pet dogs, but in general there are tons of dogs running around loose - especially in Old Town. We saw a particularly cute puppy along with it's mother.

After spending a couple of hours in Old Town, Rosaline and I came back to the hotel for a small snack (since we had a late lunch and no dinner), and headed back to our rooms.

Tomorrow begins our first and only day of fitting here in Lijiang! Everyone is joking there should be more hearing impaired people here so we can stay longer. It is absolutely beautiful here, and extremely quiet and tranquil. 

Quite the opposite of Dali, where we fell asleep every night to the soothing throb of the dance music playing in the gentleman's club eighteen storeys below us. The hotel here is almost like a resort or spa nestled in the mountains.

We're told that over 100 walk-ins have made a pilgrimage to Lijiang, walking for three days to get fitted with hearing aids tomorrow, pushing the total number of patients up over 700. It's likely to be a long day so I had better sign off and get some rest. 

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