I refer of course to the entire Olympic/Paralympic period. Over and done with, let’s get back to work.
But first, one tangential post. I spent most of this week in Lijiang, a great little tourist trap in Yunnan. I don’t mind tourist traps all that much, unlike the cultural purists out there who really dig squatting for a week out in some rural village so they can come back to New York, London, or Shanghai and tell all their friends about how they connected with the common folk. Barf. I have a bad back and a very odd reluctance to smell raw sewage, so I choose my vacation spots wisely.
The wife and I spent 4 1/2 days walking around cobblestoned streets, sitting in cafes and looking at the river. Lijiang has been touted as the Venice of China, and there are many superficial similarities. Moreover, as with Venice, my wife and I got lost in Lijiang several times — this is par for the course for me but is rare for her. We also had no idea what to eat, and discovered some horrible cuisine (mostly the Western stuff) along the way. The place is chock full of B&B-type hotels. All in all, yeah, let’s call it the Venice of China.
Some comments about the trip, in no particular order:
1. The next airline attendant who refuses to allow me to use my iPhone to read a book during the flight, even when the phone is clearly in "Airplane Mode" is going to get an iPhone planted firmly up his/her ass. What the &($# do they think the little airplane icon is for, anyway? Stupid bastards.
2. Tourists from Shanghai have no right to take candid pics of a white guy (who happens to live in Beijing) when everyone involved is on holiday in Lijiang. I really doubt that the sight of a white guy is all that rare in Shanghai these days.
3. Hotel staff should not allow drunk guests to sit around in the hotel courtyard and talk in loud voices until 2:00am. That’s what bars are for.
4. I think that wireless Internet access is better in Yunnan than in many parts of the U.S., which is scary. Then again, your average water buffalo is more tech savvy than some people I know back home, and I’m not just talking about John McCain.
5. Flight cancellations due to "maintenance problems" mean that the flight was undersold.
6. "Cappuccino" is a relative term that usually, although not always, involves some form of coffee-flavored beverage.
7. Lijiang could have fielded a gold-winning team at the Olympics if the sport was spitting on the ground. We’ve made progress in Beijing on the spitting front, but not in Lijiang. Tremendous amount of phlegm buildup in Yunnan, apparently, and they can’t blame the pollution like we can in Beijing.
8. The amount of money that has been poured in to tourist places like Lijiang is stunning.
9. "The Hump" in Kunming is a pretty good bar, if you’re into backpacker hangouts.
10. As my flight landed in Beijing Thursday night, not only did everyone frantically take off their seat belts as soon as the wheels touched the ground (seat belts in China burn the skin — everyone knows this), but the old guy across the aisle immediately reached over to take the seat belt off his 127-year-old wife. That’s love for you.
Note from Danny in Shanghai, who sez: "Lijiang is a cess pool but can be a veritable oasis from the busyness that is life in modern China. I can’t say this on my web site ChinaTravelAdvertisementNews, ’cause my clients might get upset, but since no one reads your shitty little blog, feel free to quote me in full." That’s more of a paraphrase, I guess.
If the news ever gets back to normal and includes a China topic even remotely interesting, I will start posting more often. And no, stories about tainted baby formula/milk products will not suffice.