Lijiang old town: business & ONS

22 07 2013

Yes, ONS, the international acronym for One Night Stand, you are thinking correct! 潘蕾 told me that Lijiang is popular among the young people as the place to go when you are single or after a break up!

Lijiang old town is a quite impressive agglomerate of old houses aging even 600 years. They extend over a quite large area inside the proper city of Lijiang.

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The special thing is that basically every house is now a shop or a hotel or a restaurant. And the tiny streets in the old town are so full of people (98% are Chinese tourist) that it is almost difficult walking.

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The shops are selling all the local products of interest for tourist, all of course labeled as hand made, with often one worker showing the manufacturing process.

Common products are: silver bracelet and necklace and similar; colorful women’s cloths and large scarf to cover shoulders and upper body (used only by tourists, never by locals); lots of different shapes bells; tea; a special Yunnan coffee blend; jade (especially large rocks sold by weight where you can see some jade popping out but it’s impossible to say how much jade is really present inside the rock).

Among this local products, every 50 meters or so you find an… African drums shop!! And I found at least a couple of African souvenir shop. The relation to Yunnan? None that I can tell. Just bait for tourists. And the drum shop are all playing the same song that gives a good easy background for play the drums for any beginner.

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In the food area it’s common to find products related to yak: meat and milk used for different local “delicacies”:

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Then suddenly you walk in an area of the same old houses, larger ones, that have become clubs and bars. This is the place that offers not so cheap and definitively not free help to broken hearts. But beside the typical Chinese bar girls for evening company and more, there are also Chinese not professional girls in the old town for the same purpose as many boys. It is convenient that several houses have been transformed on inns and hotels so find a room even for one night is not difficult.

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All in all I did not like neither the crowd not the general atmosphere: you feel that all the vendors of all kind are out to get you, to cheat you. It is “normal” in tourist places, I know, but the whole feeling in Lujiang old town is of artificiality. Nothing seemed real to me, as an ONS with the place.. Go, briefly enjoy it but no need to stay for breakfast..

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