Lijiang – Old Town & More Chinese Opera

Email to Rory on July 11, 2009:

I love having wi-fi across the street. I am sitting in the little coffee shop/restaurant across the street where we have breakfast (very good oatmeal). I am next to an open window on the second floor, watching people go by with their umbrellas. The rain is falling steadily on the cobblestones and making abundant ripples in the small canal below the window. Live music is drifting in from down the street, mixing with the reggae playing softly in the room. Now a local panpipe player is in the mix. Behind my left shoulder, you can barely get a glimpse of the lighted mountain temple. Red lanterns and other soft lights line the street. There is a willow tree nearby. This is a great place and I am very happy sitting here. The only thing that could make this better is you.

I really like being in areas where no cars are allowed (minus the having to walk to my hotel when sick). There are forests here and with the mountains and cooler weather, this is great. I also like being able to send you emails. My hotel room is off of a traditional Chinese courtyard. It is like a little cabin on the inside. The door is a bit odd. It is padlocked and basically a part of the paneled wall. It feels like a barn door when you open and close it. But the accommodations are very nice. I appreciate the perforated toilet paper and the lack of mold.

The courtyard outside my hotel room.

I am feeling more stable, but hoping not to get sick again. I am sitting here with two ladies as they work on the group journal. I actually rather enjoyed the opera tonight but I think I am in the definite minority. But then I wasn’t sitting near the very stinky latrines. Of course, I really like seeing and hearing different types of music. Basically, it was like an orchestra performance where the musicians occasionally sang. They were very different and unique instruments. Most of the players were elderly, with at least 5 of them in their eighties. While that is impressive, it can be scary for carrying on such a rare form of music. We talked a bit today about the destruction of culture and the impact on non-Mandarin languages during the Cultural Revolution. They had to bury their instruments and lots of knowledge was lost. A Naxie language teacher said many of the Naxie manuscripts were burned, but the oral aspect of the language saw much less damage. We also learned about their religion, Dongba, and how it was only really preserved in the very remote outposts in the Himalayas. I found that interesting

The Naxie Opera

I am going to check and see if you are on Skype again. If you don’t mind, would you check the news for protests in Tiananmen and let me know what is going on there? I got an email from Teddi mentioning it but we haven’t seem any news on it yet. Did that actually happen? Thank you.

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