January is right around the corner, and this weekend, we are headed to the city of Dali 大理to launch into the New Year! The Dali region is known as the “cultural cradle” of Yunnan providence, and its history dates back to the eighth century.
Everyone had an exciting but busy December, so we are looking forward to spending a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life. After a speedy 2hr 15 min bullet train from Kunming, we will arrive in Dali Friday evening, December 28th, and head straight to our hostel, which is just outside of the Ancient City 大理古城.
Saturday morning, we will head north to the Linden Centre, where we will meet with the Princeton in Asia students, Princeton alumni who are spending time working in Asia after graduating. In the afternoon, we will head to Zhoucheng 周城. We plan to explore the city of Zhoucheng, and look for a traditional tie-dye workshop, where we hope to take a class in traditional Bai tie dye making. We will end Saturday night with some group bonding: movie night!
Sunday, we are visiting an organic farm near Dali. There, we will tour the farm, do some volunteer work, and help make a delicious lunch to share with our new friends. In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy the sun and take a gorgeous bike ride along Erhai Lake 洱海. We will take some time in the beautiful nature to meditate, journal, and reflect on the year so far. Sunday evening, we will have some instructor-led workshops, and end the busy day with a game night!
Elevations are high, but we are still excited to embark on a journey up Cangshan Mountain 苍山 on Monday, which lies just West of Dali Ancient City. We will spend the majority of the day hiking on the mountain as well as exploring the various temples, waterfalls, and lakes which lie along the Jade Belt Road 玉带云游路. When we return to Dali, we will spend the evening learning more about Buddhism and about Dali’s rich history. Finally, we will end the evening by watching the final sunset of 2018 from Dali’s Ancient City Wall, then welcome 2019 together. On Tuesday, we will have a relaxed final day in Dali, sleeping in and doing some exciting afternoon activities before taking a train back to Kunming.
Much of our journey still lies ahead, and as 2019 begins, we look forward to overcoming new challenges, building new bridges, and further immersing ourselves in Chinese culture. Hopefully we continue working together to turn elephants into rhinos.