Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day 156 – Dali by Bus, Happy Chinese New Year!

Our tour guide gave us the morning off so that we could have some free time.  Some people went shopping, some went back to Black Dragon Springs and some went back to Old Town Lijiang.  David and I stayed in the room where it was warm and caught up on computer things and had a video chat with Caleb’s and Seth’s families.  We did run out to the store for some snacks to take with us because we had to leave at noon and there would be no time for a lunch somewhere.

The bus ride to Dali was about 2 and a-half hours.  Some of the scenery reminded us of Utah.  We also saw a lot of farmland.  The road to Dali from Lijiang had several long tunnels to go through.  I think they thought it was easier to build a tunnel through the mountain than to find a way around it.
Fruit trees in bloom west of Lijiang. 

This valley reminded us of Utah, except for the style of houses.

Farming in the valley and the terraced hillside.

When we arrived in Dali, we first stopped at a cultural tourist place for the Bai people, a minority of China.  They have a custom of three different teas that they drink and after we heard about the customs of their architecture, we went into a theater and learned about the custom of their three teas, well… we were told what was going on ahead of time, so that is how we knew what was going on since it was all in Chinese.  The show also had a lot of different ethnic costumes in it.
Examples of how they do the tie-dye (batik) in this area.  Some of the designs were seemed very complicated.

David standing in the center courtyard of a five courtyard home complex.  The Bai people had two designs of houses.  One had three sides that were dwelling and a wall on the east side that shaded the house from the east sun and reflected the light when it faded in the west to give the home warmth.  The five courtyard design had four buildings facing each other and a courtyard in the middle and a courtyard in the four corners where the buildings met. 

The outside entrance to a five courtyard dwelling.  The designs were set up so that the phoenix (a mythical creature that protects the home), then the dragon below it (also a protector) and then the elephant was below that.  I think the elephant on the bottom was for peace and prosperity in the home.  Also, if the phoenix was on the top, you ask the woman of the home for permission.  If the dragon is on the top, you ask the man.

This is a basket that is hung over the doorway of a newlyweds bedroom.  The chopsticks were a symbol that they were to get busy and have children.  The mirror was to scare away demons (if the demons see themselves in the mirror they will see how ugly they are and run away).  The round basket was a symbol of family unity.

After the tea play, we went to the restaurant that we were to have dinner in.  We were about 15 minutes early, so we sat at the tables and waited.  While we were waiting, some in our group had made up a song and decided that we wanted to give Marvin, our tour guide, a little gift because he has to be away from his family at the time of Chinese New Year.  We decided to sing the song and give him the little bit of money that we had collected from the group at the time we were waiting. 
This is a replica of the silver tea service that was given to Bill Clinton when he visited Dali, China.

These two girls were the ones showing the tea set to us.  I loved all the costumes of the local ethnicities they represented.

Another ethnic costume in the tea play.

Two more of the ethnic costumes.

Chinese New Year is as big a deal here as Christmas is in Christian countries.  They usually give gifts of money that has been placed into red envelopes to their children.  That is why we wrapped the money we gave to Marvin a red wrapper and gave it to him.  It was all pretty funny for us, but I’m not sure what Marvin’s reaction was.  It was hard for me to read if he was pleased or confused or embarrassed.

After dinner we went to our hotel to check in and then we went to walk around in the old town of Dali that we are very close to.  We saw a few fireworks before we headed in for the night.  We are still hearing fireworks going off and we expect that we will hear a lot more all night long.  Happy Chinese New Year!!

No comments:

Blog Archive