How Fast Can We Get Out of Dali???
There were some great things in Dali. Like the cable car ride up Cangshan mountain (+/- 3800 M).
Like the 3 pagodas dating from the 15th century.
Like the massive rebuilt Gantong Temple.
Like the fabulous farmer’s market.
Like the views from the old South Gate to the city.
Like the Bai fish stew.
But my overarching memory and impression of Dali was tourist trap. Every overcharging, greedy, grubby tea vending, jade vending, marble vending, junk vending, on-the-street vending, part-of-the-street vending, fried cheese vending, fake silver vending, textile vending Chinese entrepreneur chasing us down the streets, out their doors, bumping up against us, and hey lady-ing us. Even our guide taking us to a lousy restaurant and then giving us its card and telling us to go eat there again. Bak-shish, bak-shish and more bak-shish.
I was looking at jade. The piece I liked was colossally out of any price I could conceive of paying. I mean really: 46,000 RMB? (about $7500) Even “discounted” to 8,000 RMB (which it was) I still wouldn’t afford it. And guide tried to get me to buy some inferior piece that I didn’t like for a mere 200 RMB. And didn’t want to take no for an answer.
That was the way it was all over Dali, except at the farmer’s market. And the farmer’s market just didn’t save it for me.