While staying at the Banyan Tree Lijiang, the itinerary continued with a morning performance of "Impressions of Lijiang" with the Jade Dragon Mountain, the highest peak in the region, as its backdrop. The show was created by Zhang Yimou, famous for his direction of the Opening & Closing Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I'll admit that I cried at the end and still listen to the music from the CD I made sure to get at the end.
After lunch at the resort, Gerald led a wonderful five-mile bike ride to the Bai Sha Village to see incredible 16th-century murals and visit Dr. Ho, the miracle medicine man.
Dr. Ho is nearly 90 and has healed local people and many Western visitors for decades. He's like a billy goat, gathering remedies in the mountains.
We ended the day in the the charming Old Town of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that preserves what life used to look like in this region, with cobble-stoned streets, canals, bridges and shops. An hour was spent in a special tea shop learning about the importance of tea to the region and China as a whole.
Dinner was with Namu--an extremely famous figure in China, known as the "Cher" of China. She was kicked off the country's version of American Idol for her remarks that didn't sit well. She now runs a restaurant and bar called Namu, where fans come to meet her in person. Her life story is pretty incredible and I plan on delving deeper into it in future pieces.
I've, unfortunately, been to many countries where there are way too many stray dogs (Romania, Russia, etc.). There were many in the Yunnan region but they seemed well taken care of. In Tibet and Tibetan China, where we would go after Lijiang, they honor dogs as reincarnated lamas. In certain areas of China, they do eat "fragrant meat" or dog meat, which is really hard for me to hear. But the dogs I did see were some of the absolute cutest ones I've ever seen. Like this one!
In Lijiang, we also saw one of the very few statues of Chairman Mao remaining in the country. I believe there are only 4 or 5 remaining.