This post is a continuation of my journal entries from our six-week expedition to China this summer. If you didn’t read the introduction to this series, you can read it here.

Date: 7/5

Location: Lijiang’s Old Town (丽江古城)

Situated in the heart of Lijiang, the old town consists of a labyrinth of stone streets with tea houses and rose cake (鲜花饼) shops dotted across the town. We had the opportunity to stroll around the town, and ask both shopkeepers and pedestrians some questions: Where are you from?, How is today’s Lijiang different from ten years ago?, Why did you come to Lijiang? Aside from gaining practical language practice, the activity exposed me and my group to ben di ren (本地人), which are the local people. As author and Peace Corps volunteer Peter Hessler wrote in his book River Town, these people are part of lao bai xing (老百姓), which literally means “old hundred names.” We’ll definitely encounter more of these people as we begin our village homestays today.

Lijiang's Old Town

Lijiang’s Old Town