Robert: Holy. Daoist. Mountain.

October 29, 2009

picture-27I’ve caught a couple minutes’ respite here after a two-week homestay that was coupled with the final weeks of my language classes in Kunming and the beginnings of my preparations to conduct a project of my own here in Yunnan.

I really enjoyed the homestay– I think they enjoyed me too, despite my inability to understand Shanghaihua. They really sweet people who moved to Kunming in the 80s, I believe as part of the same danwei. Dad later became a Japanese translator and Mom a nurse. They have a son attending Shanghai University now who’s almost my age, so I felt like they were prepared for and receptive to the mindset of a 20-something college student. I had to miss more meals together than I would’ve liked due to my workload at school, but we did manage to have some great times together– particularly at a wedding I didn’t realize was an actual 650-person reception until I walked in the door (wearing a Twins cap, not smelling particularly great) and saw the bride and groom, who’d gotten married this weekend but was having the ceremony mid-week, as many couples employing the western wedding tradition usually do. In China, apparently they’ll do it on a Monday night. Lesson learned, karaoke sung. Dad can really belt ‘em out.

Now we’re on the road for two weeks as a group, moving up towards Dali, Lijiang, and Zhongdian/Shangri-la. Had an incredible day on one of China’s 12 holy Daoist mountains, Weibaoshan, hiking to the top by myself in a nice seven-hour jaunt. Got to Dali yesterday, declined the multitude of offers to buy weed that every white person surely gets (it’s not just the beard!), and decided that there was nothing I could do about the old town being a tourist trap full of laowai marveling at the orient and vacationing Han shoving cameras in front of everything while they toss their empty Honghe packs into the street. I got a little surly yesterday taking all this in, but a decent slice of pizza, a bottle of Sol, and a two-hour nap put me back on top.

I’m about to go up in to the middle of nowhere for a few days. We hike in to a town called Shaxi, where I’ll stay with another family for four days. I’m sure I’ll have more to share when I get back!


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