Tuesday, September 01, 2015


Work is over! Taking a break now. Asked M why we couldn't stay in Zhongdian/Shangri-La to play and needed to trot over to Lijiang (丽江). She said she wanted to buy shoes. I was like...WHUT. Couldn't believe she dared to tell me that during trip-planning months earlier. Imagine how far back my eyes rolled, and I actually humored her.

Yup. Our sole purpose in hopping over to the annoying-touristy Lijiang was for M to buy shoes at one of those street stalls. BUY SHOES. Win liao lor. Like we don't have shoes in Singapore where a million malls exist. KILL ME NOW.

Nope. After checking out shops for two days, she didn't buy a single pair of shoes. The fashion trends have shifted since she last bought shoes in the designs and color combinations she likes. In the end, she bought shawls. The plain-colored cotton ones that are easy on the eye and useful in Singapore's humid heat.

I honestly can't tell the difference between Lijiang Old Town and Vietnam's Huế or Hội An. Okay I'm being sarcastic. Architecture in Lijiang is very influenced by Han Chinese traditions rather than Tibetan culture. I suppose it's like how the minority tribes sourced for a compromise between cultures and pragmatic concerns and have evolved building design over the centuries. There's the UNESCO Old Town of Lijiang (丽江古城) where you pay ¥80 (~ SGD 17.68) EACH TIME you enter. I understand it's for preservation purposes. BUT. EACH TIME??! Jeeez. Vietnam's Hội An Ancient Town currently charges a fair VND120,000 (~ SGD 7.39) for a day or two, I think; Huế Imperial City levies a VND150,000 (~ SGD 9.24) entry fee. Plenty of bars and beer joints in Old Town (古城). Rather frazzling. Didn't like it years back, still don't like it now.

Dali (大理) isn't so bad yet but it's getting there. Their culture and traditions is a mix of Bai and Han. The city levies weird ticket charges at monasteries, chair lifts and even on mountain trails surrounding their Old Town. Lijiang's Old Town and Shuhe (束河) strangely felt like Hội An and HuếThere's the new-old town they created out of Shuhe's old village houses. It's not the 'original-designated-original Old Town' but hey, the buildings are same-old-same-old. Shuhe holds fewer drinking joints and seems to be going for a cafe-feel. Is it politically correct to say this.... it feels like those little cafes in Kaoshiung, Hsinchu, Hualien or Chiayi .... Just three years ago, Shuhe is made up of only three streets. Now it has expanded. A cappuccino at a random cafe is more expensive than Singapore at ¥35 (~SGD 7.60), and quite crap at that.

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