October 21, 2013

Weishan Old Town

These next 144 *a lot, I know* pictures are from last weekend's trip to Weishan Old Town in Dali, Yunnan Province, also known as Weishan Heritage Valley. This unique city, which dates to the founding of the Nanzhao Empire in the 7th century, and which includes numerous landmarks from the last several hundred years, including the stunning North Gate, the second largest gate in China after Tien An Men. And it is older. A friend of mine treated some friends and me for the weekend. It was a nice get away to enjoy new faces, a new town and some amazing, cultural music. There were two music events; one private and one open to the public. The private one was held in my friend's guesthouse, Dali Eaglewood Resort. It was intimate and so beautiful. Held in an open court yard (dating back to the Ming dynasty) and lit by candles and mood lighting. Mid performance it began to rain and we reluctantly retreated to the edges of the courtyard to finish the performance. The rain poured and the sound of the music drifted along to it while the candles reflected off the puddles in the most magnificent way. It was truly enchanting. The next evening we attended the public concert held in a huge room located on the roof of the North Gate mentioned above! I was overwhelmed by the grandeur and culture in the room. The money raised from this event went to sponsor a school for Yi minority children to continue the cultural practices for generations to come. The teacher of the school has taken these children in like his own. He has a passion for preserving culture and helping these kids whose parents cannot be with them because they have to go to bigger cities to find whatever work they can. I hope you enjoy these pictures, they are birthed from the inspiration this ancient town offers. 

Snapped this one from the car window. In the mornings this is a bustling vegetable market.

Pink sun spot.

Mud that looks like roots

I see Buna.

Building a temple.

First time to eat bee and larva. It was good, just hard to eat something
when you can see its' eyes and legs.

My Pumi friend Jenny had no problems.

I could live here.

Locust. Made me think of John the Baptist.

I am only showing you pictures of the weird food
(cause I don't want to be that person at dinner who has to shoot
every dish), but Chinese food is AMAZING 90% of the time.
I actually usually prefer it to food back home.

Dinner outside with Buna, Jenny and the crew.

A big pile of lima beans.

I love these, every leaf is a little different.

Yum, especially the spicy dish near the back. Most of these don't have English names, hah.

Fresh, handpicked mushrooms at every meal! We dipped them in soy sauce mixed with wasabi and other sauces.

Relaxing in the resort tea lounge.

Before the concert began.

Reminded me of when I worked for M.U.S.i.C in the states. If you live in Cleveland check out
the performances they have to offer. I recommend hearing classical music live, it's the best!

My friend Rain who owns and designed the venue.

Even the ants enjoyed the music.


Jenny double fisting (she is not a drinker so she asked for tea).

I loved all the thought put into designing this garden.


Room above the tea lounge.

View from the room above.

Tea time.

We didn't stay here, but we were given a tour. So fun!

The second courtyard.
The process of making noodles.
Their hair isn't really grey.

Drying. A sea of noodles!

So many noodles!

The finished product.

The plate behind is one long noodle. This was breakfast.
So yummy served with spicy sauces and sesame seeds.

Under the North Gate.

My view at breakfast.

Being tourists.


More shoes.

The inside of her shop, only she knows
where everything is.

I bought all my Christmas presents from her, get ready family!

Making cloth shoes.

Such beauty!

Going to be tea.

He never even saw me, hehe.

Need anything from the store while I'm out?


Chinese breakfast vendor.

Culture shock.

Hanging out with this lady letting who let me try some of the pine nuts she was selling.
I didn't know what it was until she helped me crack it. 

Just transporting.

My favorite vegetable in China, pumpkin.


Enjoying the day.

Feeding her sister.

Town's notice boards.

DIY er kuai, don't know how to translate that.

Breakfast on the go, 1 kuai (7 kuai is about 1 dollar).

Antique shops.

Wood from the Ming Dynasty in a Confucius temple.

Looking at the bird party.

Instead of walking the dog they walk their birds. All the old people meet
together to smoke, eat and play cards and they all bring their birds.

The North Gate, a true historical landmark. 
We attended the concert in the roof room.

Lit at night.

View from the roof.

The first thing you notice when you walk in, the ceiling!

The children with their teacher and the other musicians.

Back to Eaglewood for the barbecue after party.
The kids were so shy, they had never met foreigners before.

Their teacher, such a happy, funny guy. He even had his hair shaved into a heart!
Every time he gave a toast he sang a song
and he tried to teacher us how to turn leaves into instruments (so difficult).

Making friends.

The next day we went to visit the kid's school and they performed for us again.

They eat the food out of their garden.

Here's everyone.

Playing the 'leaf'.

The ride home. Radom bobble head of Angry Bird, the donkey from Shriek and Obama going surfing,
China can be so random!

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