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Himalaya

Day 83: Lijiang

Michael Palin - HimalayaIt's around nine o'clock when I set out for breakfast. Wooden shutters are being taken down from shops and cafés. The first tour groups of the day have been disgorged from their coaches and totter awkwardly on the cobblestones behind the upraised yellow flags of their guides. Many of them already wear the dogged, mule-like expressions of those condemned to another day of organized enlightenment.

The agglomeration of gift shops that always accompanies a tourist boom has hit Lijiang like anywhere else, but the shops are small and well kept and the streets clean and sparkling. Feeling slightly ashamed of myself, I choose a café offering 'England Breakfast'. It's served with wall to wall Sting.

Gorged on egg, bacon, fried bread, toast and many other delights denied to me for several weeks, I finish my fresh-ground Yunnan coffee and explore the area around the main Sifang Square. There are no big vistas here. The streets twist and turn on each other, often running alongside or over the streams of clear, cooling water that flow from Black Dragon Pool at the foot of Elephant Mountain. No wonder that one of the most powerful Naxi deities, and the one they pray to for prosperity, is Shu, the water god.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 83: Lijiang
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Lijiang
  • Book page no: 196

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