The week just gone was a doozy to say the least! It started with a mammoth 42 hour journey from Xian to Dali, where I played my first open mic set of our travels and did an epic 120km motorbike ride round Erhai Lake near the town. It finished on a high (ahem, bad pun alert!) with a 2-day trek through the rugged mountainous beauty of Tiger Leaping Gorge.
It was also a little bit of a weird week, in one particular way. Looking out the window of the No.8 bus from Dali New Town to Dali Old Town, I could see in the distance rolling green hills set round a glimmering lake and a strange sensation that I was back home crept up on me. The scenery looked remarkably like Donegal in Ireland, a 10 minute drive from my hometown of Derry. I had to see the lake up closer to check if my mind was just fooling itself because of sub-conscious homesickness or something. So the next day I rented a scooter and took off on a full circumference of the lake to investigate.
What I found was…actually you be the judge of whether my mind was just playing tricks on itself – looking at the photos below, is the horse in China and the cows in Donegal or is it the other way about??? The answer is at the bottom of the page.
I could definitely see lots of visual similarities between Dali and Donegal, places which are thousands of miles apart and which have very different climates – all a bit odd indeed.
To be completely honest though, the area around the lake is made up of about 4 or 5 different landscapes. Bits of the east looked like the terraced fields of Vietnam, while parts of the south resembled Spain with lots of threadbare and reddish green islands dotted about a bay. So it really was a fantastic ride with lots to see and it is thoroughly recommended. You can rent a petrol powered scooter for 100 Yuan (£10) and do the trip in 6/8 hours. It took me 8 hours because of lots of photo stops, grabbing lunch at a little lakeside market town and getting lost for half an hour in Dali New Town!
We’re off to Laos in a few days, so next week’s Sunday Post will be back to its South East Asian roots – stayed tuned!
Answer: Chinese cows and a drunken Irish horse – did you get it right??