Chloe's Post. Day 5-China Trip. Dali to Lijiang
Dali to Lijiang
Never would I have expected that a three hour bus ride would have landed us in an ancient city rich of culture and intricate structures.
After devouring plates of bokchoy and sautéed broccoli, each of us changed and made our way towards our first destination of the day, Dali #1 High School (this is the direct translation). As we were guided through the delicate and intercut school strictures around us, we were able to peek into each classroom.
Each window and door was filled with the welcoming faces of students excited to see us "aliens" walking in "their territory". This really gave me time to reflect and see the societal difference that the United States and China has towards diversity. When exchange students or foreigners come to BMHS, there is truly a lack of care. Many people have become cynical towards the idea of a foreigner being in their presence, and because of this, many people who have visited the United States are left with a sour taste in their mouths. It was such a dramatic difference to see how excited people were to see us in contrast to how unwelcoming we are to foreigners. Before leaving the school, we were able to make our ways into a classroom and sit down to talk with these bright students. Although there was a distinct language barrier, we were all able to laugh, smile, and point, vaguely getting our opinions across. Smiles swept across our faces and awkwardness and curiosity fueled the conversations. All the students were stripped of their phones before class to prevent distractions, but nonetheless, our pockets were filled with WeChat numbers and new contacts as we left the school grounds.
After that outing, we scavenged our luggage and made our way towards the bus for our next destination, Lijiang. During the three hour bus ride, we cruised our way through mountains and miles of active crops being occupied by workers. The bus ride allowed time for all of us to unwind, besides the few times our lovely bus driver would aggressively pass slower vehicles as he jolted the gas and breaks; the frequent horn was also a pleasure to have as we all tried to soak in the scenery.
After the bus ride we begun to make our way into the city of Lijiang, a town build in the late Song Dynasty and into the Yuan Dynasty. Following lunch, we strolled our way through the beautiful city; streams and ponds border the ancient stone roads as well as rustic food shops pile on each side. The simple beauty was breath taking.
After roaming the streets, we landed in a park filled with people of all ages listening and dancing to music. There was a group of older people dancing to Zumba that we were all convinced was a memorized retinue. Close by was a large circle of people holding hands and jumping as they made their way around. One by one we incorporated our selfs into their cultural dance, their faces glowed and cameras were whipped out as we began to follow their dance.
After building up enough courage, Cailey and I made our way into the center of the circle and began to dance freely, everyone quickly migrated towards us as they began to cheer and clap, hoping for us to dance more.
Two college-aged boys made there ways towards the center of the circle, each desiring a dance. After a quick dance and more clapping we were apple to remove our selfs from the plague of people and continue walking towards our hotel. We continued on beautiful back roads for around 35 minutes until we finally arrived the the hotel.
The day concluded with a small restaurant with a lively atmosphere, people were constantly walking by and all our conversations were accompanied with live. The night ended with a two-hour study block, following we all dragged ourselves into bed and rested for the next day.