Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No Escape

chinese ny parade
Originally uploaded by statusqphotos
i hung out in Lijiang for a couple days, and today arrived in a place nowhere mentioned in my Lonely Planet book. Though i'll bet 100rmb that it's in the newest edition.

It's like Lijiang, but smaller. Beautiful town, all nicely renovated, and suddenly full of posh-yet-traditional inns, and bars lined up along the cobblestone paths and winding canals. It's quite beautiful, but there's a sense of the unreal in it. It's chinese history reconstructed for your viewing pleasure, with all your desired amenities.

There's also weird cultural capitalism going on, where the Naxi food, clothing and music is all for sale. On one hand, yes they are preserving their culture by keeping it at the forefront, propogating it. But on the other hand, this is Naxi culture with a price tag only.

Yesterday, in the town square there was a group of maybe 20 old Naxi women doing some traditional dances, while tourists (mostly chinese) encircled them and took pictures with expensive cameras.
i noted that none of the dancers seemed to be enjoying themselves. i suspect they receive some small payment from the local govt. Surely, if these ladies wanted to dance, they'd do it somewhere with less intrusion. taking pictures would feel dirty, i think.

Anyhow, what can you do? On my itinerary i have more places lined up which will have local snacks on English menus, coffee, and cultures transformed by the likes of me.

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