The Peregrine tour group has only 5 people in it which is a great size. A very well travelled couple late 50s and a 30 year old Sydney girl, Sue Anne who grew up in Malayasia, she is a Christian who had attended Hillsong church for the last 9 years, and had been praying for other Christians on the tour. We are getting along really well and it is great to have someone out and about with us when we have free time who can speak some Chinese.
We didn't have long in Kunming and then took a bus to Dali, it was a local bus but what a difference to Laos flat screen TV's, even seats that go side ways in to the aisles to give mor shoulder room. The Chinese roads have been an eye opener, we had expected yet more windy mountainous roads, the road to Dali was a 6 lane hwy with tunnels of up to 3 kms through the mountains and Viaducts over the valleys.
The Old town of Dali where we have stayed for the past 2 days is a beautiful city, with a huge lake on one side and a mountain range soaring to 4200m on the other. Temps are pretty cold around 6-14 degrees.
In the morning yesterday we went to a Bai ethnic village with a population of about 5000. Yanger our guide is of Bai heritage and his wife is from this village, he also has relativess living there. Before 1949 this was a very wealthy village with many merchants. The houses are wooden, but quite ornate. An extended family lived around a central courtyard with a wall and gate on one side and 3 homes around the other sides. We visited 3 of these private homes. Yanger took gifts of cigaretes and sweets to the elders. We spent 4 hours wondering through the homes and hearing stories of what life was like pre 1949. In one home a beautiful frescoe had been painted over with a production grid of the extended family output in the fields. Many more families were crowded into these homes during the Mao era.
In the afternoon we took a cable car up the mountaain and spent time walking along a gorge through which a powerful river/waterfall rushed. There were numerous swing bridges. It rained all day - but we had umberellas and coats so it didn't deter us.
This is a bit long but it is still raining and the internet is free here at the guest house.