Lake Lashi

10 October 2009
Lashihai and then back to Lijiang
We woke up again after another night on a rock hard mattress with
Scotty tossing and turning due to the excess tea consumption the
previous night. Needless to say we both did not have a good night
sleep even though we got in bed at 8:30pm.

Breakfast was wheat flat bread, homemade honey, pomegranate, apple,
boiled eggs, and something akin to wonton but without filling and a
little bit more softer. We took bikes from the guesthouse (Nan Yao)
and biked down to the lake. We took a boat ride on Lashi Lake. It was
wonderful to be on the water. Very different from the boat ride we
took in Yangshuo as there was no beer vendors in the middle of the
lake. Our boatman hummed and sang while he rowed complimenting the
sounds of the lake. The boat made a gentle pattering sound, like rain,
as it passed through the reeds. The sky cooperated with a beautiful
blue backdrop accented by large cloud formations, which reflected
wonderfully on the lake. Our boatman was nice enough to stop and take
pictures at a few spots. He was actually quite good with the camera,
taking multiple shots and taking time to compose them.

We then headed to the Buddhist temple in another village near the
lake. It was very quiet, unlike the Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai. We
pretty much had the place to ourselves except for the monks. The chant
of the monks, sounding of gongs, and the cooing of pigeons enveloped
us as we explored the temple.

We then stopped for lunch at another guesthouse. We had chicken (bony
…), marinated potatoes (?), some strange gelatinous veggie mix, spiced
bean jello, and rice. It wasn't our favorite lunch, but it was
interesting. After lunch we headed back to Lijiang and to the Tea
Boutique Hotel near the waterfront.

Despite the crazy hiking, I am glad we decided to try this trek. It
was enjoyable visiting Wenhai and Lashihai villages that were
untouched by commercialization. I imagined that these small rural
villages was what China used to be like. Families out in the field
harvesting, planting, and fertilizing by hand. Very peaceful, small,
and simple. We got to meet and interact with wonderful people that
lived these idyllic lives. Many of the "old" cities we have visited
are just filled with trinket shops and restaurants in addition to
beautiful architecture. Not that there has been anything wrong about
the places we have experienced; however, this was the first time that
I felt we were seeing the true spirit of China.

- Julia