<![CDATA[Anna's Adventuring Blog - A Year in Dali]]>Sun, 17 Jan 2016 01:38:00 +0800Weebly<![CDATA[<s>The Week</s>     A Month Later]]>Wed, 21 Oct 2015 21:44:21 GMThttp://annadventures.weebly.com/a-year-in-dali/ltsgtthe-weekltsgt-a-month-later你好 and welcome to the month (and a bit) in review! After  many days of, actually being too busy/waiting for the internet to come back/forgetting about making an update - the moment has finally arrived. The events that follow aren't in any real chronological order but should still give a better idea of what's been going on than a 30+ day long diary entry.....

Around Dali 古城 (Old Town)

For the first few weeks just walking down the street was a bit of an adventure in the Old town! Even though the layout is in fact quite a simple grid I did spend a lot of time getting lost... not that it's necessarily a bad thing if you have enough time (and a sketchpad). As the name implies a lot of the buildings are ancient, hundreds and in some cases thousands of years old - the timber frames and decorations can be surprisingly well preserved. With Erhai Lake to the east, mountains to the west and a vibrant melting pot of local cultures in between, I like to think there's a kind of fresh and energised quality to the atmosphere. Well whatever it is, it definitely agrees with me and the thousands of tourists who visit throughout the year~

Various other places... 

While I spend most of my time in the Old town, I'm also wandering around other places. As a lot of you will know already I'm taking a part time Mandarin language course at Dali University ( 大理大学), the campus itself is stunning since it's set right at the foot of the mountains - an excellent place to study outside. About 24km to the south is the city of Xiaguan, which conveniently has a Walmart where can I stock up on chocolate digestives... (I do a lot of cycling) 

Out in the countryside

Every week I go out with the team to the villages  on the edge of the lake, where we have several ongoing projects. The communities out there are still very much agricultural and are part of the Bai ethnicity, who have their own local gods, respective temples and separate language. The work we do out there is quite varied from simply helping out in the fields, to visiting some of the elderly and running clubs for the children. It's fascinating to find out about the local history and customs from the people living there, since it all goes a long way back - I think I learn something new nearly each time I visit.  
Right, I'd say that pretty much sums up what I've been up to...
The windy season is about to descend, with gales strong enough to pick up a cabin - so I'm told. From now on I'll try to post a uh...bit more regularly. There are plenty of things coming up soon, so until next time!
<![CDATA[Day 1 - Drenched In Dali]]>Sat, 29 Aug 2015 18:27:09 GMThttp://annadventures.weebly.com/a-year-in-dali/day-1-drenched-in-dali
First full day in Dali, and it's been quite busy~ It's been raining consistently, what with it being monsoon season, so this morning's trip to the Dali University was a little bit waterlogged but really interesting all the same. The main building (with the massive sculpture in front) is where I'll be going to my part time language course, but there's pretty much everything else there too - definitely the place to get cheap food and clothes at broke student prices! (e.g. large bottle of Lipton peach ice tea for 3.50¥ ... so roughly 35p).

After a *cheap* - but delicious - hot pot lunch we went down to visit the elderly home which is just outside Dali Old town. The team out here have been visiting regularly for a while now, which is quite rare considering the restrictions the government usually places on foreigners being allowed into institutions. In Chinese society being childless and having a disability are still very much stigmatised meaning  disabled, and elderly people with no children to care for them are considered a burden on society. Although the home near by is well funded and maintained by the government the people living there almost never have any regular visitors and there is a low staff to resident ratio (3:30), so simply spending time to socialise like playing a game or doing craft activities is really valuable to them since they have very little contact with anyone outside their home.

This evening was a pizza night at Sleepy Fish, amazing because everything is made in the kitchen (yep even the dough) and then cooked fresh outside in a wood fired pizza oven! Naturally the event attracts a lot of the local expat population, so even though the oven was a bit slow cooking (because of the rain..?) there was still plenty to do in the kitchen~

Looking forward to finding out when my course starts - I have been told you're usually given about 18 hours notice... But in the meantime I'll continue getting to know Dali and sleeping off my jet lag.
The team (Left->Right), Penny, Celeste, Rachel, Yana, Tracy and Max
<![CDATA[Just Arrived And Can't Quite Believe It]]>Thu, 27 Aug 2015 14:19:57 GMThttp://annadventures.weebly.com/a-year-in-dali/just-arrived-and-cant-quite-believe-it
If I hadn't guessed before, 4am starts don't really agree with me - in the same way that boarding a plane in 36 degrees in Guangzhou doesn't either...
A bit disappointed the green didn't carry through but still tasted amazing after a breakfast consisting of a packet of oreos....
The view from my ground floor balcony~
Realistic menu in a tank(???)
Managed to fudge my way through the airports with a few panicked phone calls and a last minute sprint to a closing gate! Anyway I've arrived at Sleepy Fish Lodge in Dali where I'll be spending the year. Here are some photos from my journey over - at the moment I'm having a few issues with the blogging app and internet on my phone, which is probably why this post looks a bit weird and has too many photos... but hopefully I'll be able to sort it out soon~
<![CDATA[A Few Things I Might Miss]]>Tue, 25 Aug 2015 22:59:54 GMThttp://annadventures.weebly.com/a-year-in-dali/testi
Where else to start than a panorama? I ventured outside to soak up the late British summertime sun, so already pictures from a few day ago seem slightly nostalgic.. and I haven't even left yet. Ah well, I thought I'd enjoy the moment before descending into the frenzy of packing, forgetting, and repacking...
<![CDATA[@departures]]>Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:44:53 GMThttp://annadventures.weebly.com/a-year-in-dali/departures
Currently sitting at the gate... one hour until take off! With a bag of oreos and cadburys safely to myself I'll guess I'll just be chilling for a bit with my coffee~