From Chengdu, we flew about 700 miles southeast to Lijiang. It sits at about 6500 feet above sea level, at the base of mountains that reach 12-13000 feet. Lijiang is our first city of less than one million population (250,000, with near one million in the countrysides). No tall buildings here, and very little pollution. The locals are made up of a few of China’s minorities… The largest of which is the Naxi. Our guide told a story of a group of wandering herdsmen who decided that the slope of this local mountain would be their permanent home.

We started our two days here by walking around a local lake, and visiting one  of their temples. The lakes and ponds here are cited as being feed by underground springs, which bring very clean water. We saw locals filling up gallon jugs to take home for their personal use. I would guess that these aquifers are filled from snowmelt in the high mountains…But there is always room for an alternative explanation: That a dragon lives under the ground and claws at the ground, letting the water flow out. The locals stomp the ground at lakeside to help the dragons. By the way, did you know that Chinese dragons have no wings???  I didn’t until today. The winged ones must stay down in Hong Kong, or points south.

I’ll  include a couple more pics of the local colors that accompany a mountainside spring:

Finally, as we were completing our walk around the lake, we caught up with a group of local elders on their daily stroll. I asked if they would join me for a pic…They were all in their 80s and 90s. Do you see the gentleman with the NY hat???


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