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Wing Chun Academy of Thailand

ABOUT YUNNAN

Today, you can find all sorts of information on Yunnan just by googling, so I won't write about it as if I was an authority on it. However, I have traveled to Yunnan regularly since 1993, and have built 2 homes in Lijiang, and can somewhat claim to be an expert on the subject. Although I will not get into the facts about Yunnan, I will let you glance into it through my eyes, as I had seen and recorded in my personal blog (which is not for public) in the past. I've extracted a blog I wrote on April 2006, which has an overall view of Yunnan.

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Every visit to Kunming, I see drastic changes. Gone are the classic Chinese homes. There is not one single standalone home in Kunming. They're all apartments and condominiums. They are pathetically put together. They use the most gaudy colors. New apartments begin to deteriorate within a year.

I'm informed that the crime rate has increased tremendously. No one feels safe anymore. The apartment windows and doors are barricaded with double layers of steel bars. The apartments look more like prisons than dwelling places.

There are no laws or complaints for neighbors using the steel barricades as clotheslines. They add unwanted colors and decorations to the already ugly buildings.

Wall graffiti is not limited to vandals in China; it is used commonly and frequently by the Government to propagandize its messages. They probably see it as art.

In contrast, when you go downtown, you'll find glitzy towers and neon lights. Alas, American chain restaurants have invaded Kunming. You'll find McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut amongst other foreign businesses. The ritzy area not only attracts the glamorous, but the poorest of the poor, begging for a single cent or two.

Click the picture below to see a 3.3 MB slideshow of Kunming buildings.

Kunming
Apartments and Condominiums

One main change in the streets of Kunming is the mode of transportation. When I first visited Kunming in 1993, there were hordes of bicyclists, and a few cars. The ratio was 100:1. Today, it is the other way around. In addition, there are motor-scooters, 3-wheel bicycle carts, 3-wheel scooters, buses, and donkey carts. They are now experiencing the wonderful phenomenon of traffic jams, auto-accidents, road-rage, deaths, insurance claims and payments!!!

Note that in a single shot below, I had captured a bus, a 3-wheel bicycle cart, and a donkey on the road.

Click the picture below to see a 3.1 MB slideshow of Kunming Transportation.

Kunming
Transporation

As far as the street scenes (excluding buildings and transportation) are concerned, some remain, while others have changed. The street vendors, shoeshiners, food stalls, markets, blind-musicians, and poverty still remain. Changed are the fashion on the young; they're tasteless and odd. Changed are the people in traffic. There are more in Kunming than before. One day, we were stuck at a traffic intersection for 15-20 minutes because the pedestrians ignored the red traffic lights and 3 policemen's instructions, and crossed all four corners of the roads like stampeding cattle.

Click the picture below to see a 4.3 MB slideshow of Kunming streets.

Kunming
StreetsKunming Traffic (Photo by Selene)

One thing that really impressed me was the Kunming restaurants. They all used to be filthy; however, today some are as classy as any you'd find internationally. Because of my Kosher diet, my friends took me to Muslim owned restaurants. They were very clean in and out. Waitresses from one restaurant wore disposable cellophane gloves, and used tongs to place bowls, plates, and glasses on tables. One thing I don't like about Thai restaurants in general is that servers put their fingers in drinking glasses, on the eating end of the spoon, fork and chopsticks when they bring them to you. However, I've learned to live with that.

Click the picture below to see a 1.4 MB slideshow of Kunming restaurants.

Kunming
Diners

In spite of what appears to sound like complaints about Kunming, my daughter and I had a great time there. Not only buildings, autos and strangers make up a city; friends and acquaintances also do. They're who made our stay very enjoyable. Xiao-Shuan owns a teahouse called Toronto. That's where we rendezvoused everyday and night with old and new friends.

In my experience of coming to Kunming every year, I found the people to be rough at the edges and impolite in general. However, much of it is a protective front. As soon as they get to know you, and let their shields down, their warm and kind nature surfaces.

Kunming girls are not as gentle and graceful as Thai girls. However, the grace and gentility permeate once they let their guards down.

I had known the girls pictured in the slides below for some years, but interacted with them for the first time this year. They became vulnerable and shy when I aimed my camera at them. They've perhaps never faced a real camera before, other than the idiot type. Their sense of vulnerability disclosed the feminity and beauty they had kept hidden inside.

Click the picture below to see a 2.6 MB slideshow of Kunming girls.

Kunming
Girls

I had only met the first girl (in crimson), pictured in the slides below, a couple of days before the shoot, and met the last girl (in red) for the first time that day; both of them shone with grace and gentility.

Click the picture below to see a 1.5 MB slideshow of more Kunming girls.

More
Kunming Girls

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After 4 nights in Kunming, my daughter and I flew to Lijiang. We were met at the airport by my relatives. Since the airport was located near Heqing town, where the Xuan ancestors had lived for 14 generations before splitting to Zhongdian and Lijiang, we decided to visit it for lunch and do some grocery shopping.

Heqing countryside is beautiful. It is like what Lijiang was 10 years ago. The grass and trees are deep green, the sky is pollution-free blue, and the clouds are snow white. The folks are child-like naive and innocent. They'd giggle and run away whenever I pointed my camera at them. However, those I had trapped, smiled, showing their white beaming teeth.

I was informed that prices of everything in Lijiang has skyrocket ever since it was discovered by UNESCO World Heritage Organization and other provincial Chinese as a unique old and charming town. Tourists now amount to 3 million per year. So, whenever local folks get a chance, they go out of Lijiang to shop for grocery and other necessities.

Click the picture below to see a 2.6 MB slideshow of Heqing market.

Heqing
Market

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Since 1993, I've been visiting Lijiang every year.

Lijiang has changed tremendously since my first visit. I saw the changes every year. Here again, there were changes that I approve, and changes that I disapprove.

I fell in love with Lijiang at first sight. I had heard much about it from my parents, but hadn't imagined the beauty until I saw it with my own eyes. I immediately wanted to buy a property there; however, the Government then was still very Communistic, and had many regulations that prevented me from buying, after several years of attempts.

In the early years, I witnessed poor changes such as the tearing down of ancient wood and mud-straw-brick houses and cobblestone roads, and replacing with concrete homes and roads. The rivers running through the town were being covered up by flat concrete roads. I protested, but my voice was not heard. The local Government then was trying very hard to industrialize Lijiang.

In 1997, a year after Lijiang suffered a massive 7.0 earthquake, UNESCO designated it as a Heritage Old Town. World Bank and several heritage conservation organizations funded Lijiang nearly US$500 million for reconstruction. The local Government saw the value of promoting Lijiang as one of China's few remaining ancient towns, and began tearing down the concrete buildings and roads, and installing old-style houses and cobblestone roads. The plan was also part of the conditions imposed by the lenders.

The plan worked. Lijiang started getting an influx of provincial tourists, who had grown up after the Cultural Revolution, and had never seen an ancient Chinese house or listened to classical Chinese music. Never mind Westerners, many Chinese didn't even know about the various ethnic people living in Western China. The local Government capitalized on it, and made the local aboriginal folks as one of the tourist attractions; some of them even being misinterpreted.

For example, the local aborigines, the Naxi (pronounced Nashee) women, had always worn dark blue dresses of a particular design for centuries. Compared to other aborigines such as the Bai, Lisu, Mosou, and others, who dress very colorfully, the Naxi dress is dull.

Old Naxi Ladies in
Traditional Wear
Traditional Naxi Wear

In my recent visits, I have begun to see colorful fabrics used for the Naxi dress amongst the young. In actuality, the young had given up wearing traditional Naxi costume a long time ago. I hadn't seen any person under 60 wearing it in my visits from 1993 through 2004. However, the colorful dresses now appear on young girls who work for shops and other tourist attractions; many of them are not even Naxi. They come from other provinces, and speak only Mandarin; not the native Naxi language or even the provincial Yunnan dialect.

This year, to my surprise, I saw local seniors wearing the colorful version in a tourist show at the center of the Old Town. It is sad that the Naxi culture is being diluted and misinterpreted for the purpose of tourism and economics.

New Naxi Wear
New Naxi Wear for Tourists

The reality is that the Naxi culture is slowing dying. The written language is no longer used or learned. The spoken language is diminishing amongst the young. For instance, my nephew's 9-year-old daughter does not speak it, although she understands it. She's not the only one. Most of the children her age don't speak it.

Although there are negative changes, there are also positive ones. One of them being cleanliness. Lijiang is generally a lot cleaner than before.

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On the second day of our visit, we went to town for breakfast. The prices in the Old Town was ridiculously high, so we opted for a small restaurant outside of the Old Town. While we were eating we saw a beggar outside the restaurant. I was informed that beggars came from other provinces, and that they're professionals. However, I couldn't bear to see anyone so desolate, and sent Selene to give him money.

Outside the restaurant, we also saw a team of shoeshiners lined up in the streets. My daughter was fascinated with the idea of someone professionally polishing her shoes ever since she first got them done in Calcutta, India, when she was 4. So, she insisted on getting hers shone, and paying for the service herself. She also insisting on treating her cousin and I for the same. Each pair of shoes cost her one Yuan (12 cents)

We walked briefly around a new development that try to simulate the Old Town. It appears that the investors had overestimated the potential of the new Old Town, as the buildings were neither occupied by tenants or shoppers.

Click the picture below to see a 1.6 MB slideshow of our brief visit to a new section of Lijiang, near the Old Town.

Lijiang

In the early years when I wanted to purchase a property in Lijiang, I had eyed an area under the Wenbi (Brush Tip) Mountain, which had a beautiful lake. The local Government was only interested in selling huge properties for business development; not a small piece for a pawn like me. I heard that the Government's wish had been granted, and that the area had converted into a golf course, and a hotspring resort. I was anxious to see how the area changed.

A relative drove the bunch of us to the hotspring first, where we all swam and bathed. My daughter and I were the only swimmers amongst 20 or 30 other patrons. Lijiang being located inland, and 2400 meters above sea level, doesn't produce swimmers. The premise tries to market to high income patrons by charging outrageous entrance and other fees. However, the premise lacks the style and finesse of a highend resort. I had been to hotsprings in Vietnam that were much classier and reasonable in price. With this one, I was shocked to find doorless cubicles for toilets. There was a small sloping ceramic tiled canal where you'd squat over to drop your doodles. There was no supply of toilet paper or water. There was no individual flush mechanism. There was only a master flush which the maintenance man had access to, and flushed whenever he was free. It appeared that he hadn't done that for awhile, as some leftovers were baked dark and dry under the sun.

Nonetheless, this hotspring pool was nice, hot, and relaxing.

Next, we visited my relative's village, and dinner with the family. It was a serene village, where I'd like to live. When I queried, I was told that none of the land and houses in the village can be bought or sold. The Government allowed only the designated farmers to live there. However, they'd sell large developing properties if the right price was offered.

Click the picture below to see a 3.5 MB slideshow of our visit to Ping's house in Wenbi Village.

Aping's House

I took a walk around the village and admired the natural beauty. There was a Government sign asking the public not to pollute. The ironic thing was that the only pollution there, was that ugly sign itself, and a radio tower that the Government had installed nearby. I'm reminded of the chorus of a song that went:

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign,
Blocking out the scenery,
And breaking my mind,"
Don't do this, don't do that,
Can't you read the sign."

I went farther to the golf course to look at it from the top of a hill. The view was spectacular, but there was something wrong with the picture.

It occurred to me that for economy sake, the local Government had sold the two properties to non-local businessmen, who are charging atrocious prices for entry and usage, beyond the affordabilty of the locals, and barring them from a region that they had roamed freely for hundreds of years.

Doesn't that have a ring of familiarity?

Click the picture below to see a 3.4 MB slideshow of my tour of Wenbi Village.

Wenbi
Village

Returning to Lijiang after the serene and beautiful atmosphere of Wenbi Village was depressing. Passing through the "new" developments, lacking any greenery, made me want to strangle the person responsible for the short-sightedness.

The whole of Lijiang used to be like Wenbi; now it is a mixture of real ancient town, fake ancient town, poor versions of Western-style houses, ghettos, and barren land.

Downtown Lijiang is being raped by foreigners within and without China. KFC occupies a large area of property there. Ninety percent of Old Town is rented and operated by outsiders.

Click the picture below to see a 2.4 MB slideshow of Concrete Lijiang.

Concrete
Lijiang

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On an occasion, my daughter and I were invited, by a friend for lunch and dinner at his house. He lived in an ugly newly developed area; however, behind the gates, he had a nice sanctuary of his own.

My daughter enjoyed riding the 3-wheel bicycle cart, and helped our friend's wife prepare and fry glutinous rice cakes.

After lunch, he walked us through the depressing gray neighborhood into a beautiful hidden park. It was a fragrant rose amongst torns. It appeared to me that the natural beauty was not appreciated by the neighbors, as it was empty of visitors. On the other hand, there may have been an entrance fee (that I was not aware of) that the locals could not afford. We may have been allowed in free because of my friend's position in the village.

Click the picture below to see a 2.4 MB slideshow of the park.

Lijiang
Park

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I had been avoiding a visit to Old Town because of the changes. I wanted to maintain the memory of what I had experienced before. However, there is no avoiding it if you need to buy souvenirs.

I have to confess that the Old Town still has charm and interest. If you can overlook the ugly new decor, shut off the sound of noisy tourists, avoid the tourist traps, and not dwell on the past, the Old Town begins to shine again.

At the Old Town's famous Market Square, old Naxi folks circled to dance for the tourists. They hammed it for the tourists who were photographing and dancing with them. The tourist probably believe that these folks danced like this everyday ... all their lives. The truth of the matter is that I had never seen Naxi folks dance until this trip. I recognized the music and dance as that of another tribe, the Lisus. Lisus live in mountains, and are a musical and lively group. In Lijiang, they had lived in the Yulong Mountain until recently; they were displaced to another area when their land was designated a tourist site.

Traditionally, amongst the Naxi, the women were the bread-winner (income earner) of the house, and often mistakenly considered a matriarchal society. The women were a serious bunch; the men were the artists and entertainers. Whereas, the women of the mountaineous tribes, such as Lisu, Mosu, Lolo, Ahkha, were (and still is) actually the colorful and playful type.

I had to laugh at the tourists for paying 5 Yuan to pose with a muleteer, who was neither authentic or authentically dressed. He was dressed more like the Chinese movie version of a muleteer.

Having said that, I enjoyed the couple of trips I made through the Old Town.

Click the picture below to see a 3.2 MB slideshow of our walk through the Old Lijiang Town.

Lijiang's Old Town
Locals Looking Strangely at the Phoney Multeer

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One of the ideas I'm dabbling with is to organize small private tours of Lijiang. The clients, one or two families, would be guided away from the maddening crowd, and given true experience of Lijiang life-style by eating local food cooked by regular housewives, visiting small villages, and interacting with the local folks in a real way.

My newphew's wife is the head of Lijiang's Tourism Board. She arranged for a tour company to take me to a couple of areas in Lijiang that fit my description. I also wanted to look at a couple of hotels that were not typical, yet suitable for Western tourists.

The guide took me to a newly developed area, about 15-20 minutes drive from downtown. The village is called Shuhe(r). The village is inhabited by the Mosu Tribe, which is a true matriarchal society. The women in the family have rights to family property; they select and propose to men for marriages; they generally live separately even after marriage; the husbands visit their wives, mainly for breeding purposes. (I love that!!!)

An area of the Shuhe village was cleared up, converted to commercial region, and built totally with ancient style house. The residents were moved farther back in.

Although I object to the thought of displacing people, and building commercial properties in place, I must admit that this project was done with style and taste. The workmanship in stone and wood work were excellent. The area was nicely planned and designed. It was very attractive. The sparsity of the buildings and people, a contrast to Old Town's clustered buildings and sea of tourists, made this place attractive and ideal for my project.

Click the picture below to see a 0.7 MB slideshow of Shuhe Village. Picture below shows Mosu girls in their authentic costume.

Shuhe Village

The guide then took me to a 4-Star hotel for a tour. I don't believe the ratings are international standard as the prerequisite for a 4-Star hotel is to have at least 4 international cuisine restaurants. This hotel had only one restaurant. I'm not sure if there is a hotel association in China that rates hotels or if the hotel owners just slap their own ratings.

Anyhow, I'd rate this hotel an international 4-Star despite the lack of international restaurants. This hotel had three separate buildings in different short-walk areas. The halls, courtyards, rooms, fixtures, bathrooms were all tasteful and clean. The rates were reasonable; ranging from US$35 to US$100 for single rooms to suites.

Click the picture below to see a 1.6 MB slideshow of the first hotel we visited.

First Shuhe
Hotel

Next, we visited another hotel that just opened. It also was rated 4-Star, which I again rate the same. In fact, I felt that this hotel had more to offer. On a low season, which it was that day, the suite, which included a living room, guest room, and a sauna room, was going for US$60. The first week of May is considered high season; it would then double.

Click the picture below to see a 1.6 MB slideshow of the second hotel we visited.

Second
Shuhe Hotel

Investigating the prices of goods in the shops of Shuhe, I found them to be 25%-40% less than found at the Old Town. My thoughts is that it would be better for tourists to stay in Shuhe, and visit the Old Town occasionally. Shuhe is more tranquil and pretty; one can still meet the locals here and interact. (In the old town, the merchants are all non-locals.) It is only a short drive from downtown and Old Lijiang. The transportation is inexpensive and convinient. There are shuttle buses within Shuhe to take one to the main gates. From there, one could connect to downtown via taxi, vans or buses.

The guide told me of another new development at the southern end of the Old Town. We visited it.

It was new and bare of tourists. Although it was starving for business, the hotel we visited was charging US$100 for a single room. At the moment, I'd say that it is not worth staying or visiting this area. It is expensive and uninteresting.

Click the picture below to see a 1.3 MB slideshow of the hotel in the South Gates of Old Town.

South Old
Town

Since I have brought up the subject of transportation, here's a report on Lijiang's mode.

Like Kunming, you'll see bicycles, 3-wheel bicycle carts, scooters, 3-wheel scooter cars, automobiles, taxis, public vans and buses.

Taxi meter start at 8 Yuan (US$1.00); public vans charge 1 Yuan (12 cents); public buses charge .50 Yuan (6 cents). All of them are dirty, but not filthy.

Locals move around in the other vehicles. There are not as many cars as in Kunming; however, most lack safe-driving skills; especially on the country roads.

The most popular vehicle in Lijiang is the 3-wheel bicycle cart. They not only transport the rider around, but can carry passengers and goods. Apparently, they're hot items for local thieves; they even break in houses for them. Can you imagine that?

It is still convenient and safe to ride a bicycle around. There used to be plenty of bicycle rental shops in the old days; but I haven't seen any lately. I'd recommend my clients to use them to get around if they can find one to rent.

Click the picture below to see a 2.9 MB slideshow of Lijiang's transportation.

Lijiang
Transportation

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One day, my younger nephew, took me to his work place, the Yulong (Jade-Dragon) Mountain Golf Course, where he holds the position of a manager. What had been a rain forest before, habited by Tibetans, under the Yulong mountain, had been developed into a highend golf course. The local Government moved the Tibetans to another area, and sold the property to a Singaporean businessman, who developed the golf course, but was busted for bribery and corruption, and put in jail. The local Government then took over the business.

The golf course was indeed impressive. It boasts having the longest golf range at the highest platform above sea level.

My nephew took us for a tour on golf carts. I don't know anything about golf, but from what I'm told, many top professionals, high Chinese and foreign government officials had played on it. The way I look at it, if the course is not going to impress a player, the scenery would.

Click the picture below to see a 1.8 MB slideshow of Yulong Golf Club (Outdoors).

Yulong Golf
Course (Outdoors)

The interior of the Yulong Golf Club was also impressive.

Click the picture below to see a 0.7 MB slideshow of Yulong Golf Club (Indoors).

Yulong Golf
Course (Indoors)

On the golf course, there were also a bunch of resort houses for sale. They were contemporarily designed by a Beijing architect. They were nicely furnished. The going price was US$1,300 per square meter. The sizes ranged from 300 square meter to 550 square meter; therefore, were selling from US$400,000 to US$715,000. Although expensive by Chinese standard, I'd say these properties would turn around and sell for millions one of these days.

Click the picture below to see a 1 MB slideshow of the interior of one of these houses on the Yulong Golf Course.

Yulong House

Returning to Lijiang proper, I was again reminded of another world.

In 1993, when I first visited Lijiang, the folks were experiencing the beginning stage of a new revolution implemented by Deng Xiao Ping. Life had just begun to get better for all. The folks all were rising up equally. However, in the decade that followed, I've seen a tremendous imbalance in the growth. A 5-Star hotel surfaced in little Lijiang even before the capital city, Kunming. It now has two highend golf courses beyond the pocketbooks of middle-class foreigners. On the other hand, there are people in Lijiang scraping food from garbage dumps.

Click the picture below to see a 2.9 MB slideshow of the poverty in Lijiang.

Lijiang
Poverty

Whilst the Government is doing everything to boost the tourism oriented economy; boasting the cleanest public toilets with TV sets (in Old Lijiang) in China, it seems to do very little for the many locals living in Lijiang. I went to a local Government operated hospital to use the bathroom, and was appalled at the condition of it. The walls, doors, floors, bedsheets, and sofas were old, tattered, filthy, and unkempt. The toilets were horrendous. The premise was totally unhygienic. I only hope that the Government would admit to the poverty and imbalance that exists in Lijiang, and do something about it.

There was far too many mismanaged constructions going on in Lijiang. The air was full of dust at all times. My shoes always looked like those of a French Desert Legionnaire. My nose sneazed and my throat itched everyday.

Click the picture below to see a 2.1 MB slideshow of the poor state of Lijiang in some area. The pictures of the hospital look better than the actual state because of the ambient light coming through the windows, covering the dark stains on white surfaces, and giving the rooms a glow that doesn't really exist.

Lijiang Poverty

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My parents had never owned a house of their own. My father was a fun-loving, charming, and wandering rascal. He could never hold on to the money he made. He didn't care less about owning a house. His older brother was conservative, and wisely bought a property in Lijiang; however, it cost his life for being a bourgeois landowner in the Cultural Revolution days.

Out of my siblings, I'm the only one without a property of my own. I have a streak similar to my father. However, of late, I've developed a streak from my mother's side; a longing for a house of my own.

I had looked into buying a house in Canada, Thailand and Lijiang. In this trip, I found a suitable one in Lijiang. I am now negotiating the completion of the sale. If all goes through, I'd probably have ownership of it next month.

The Land and House Department of Lijiang had recently removed the restrictions for foreigners to buy properties. However, properties in the Old Town and farmland are still restricted.

In China, the Government owns all lands; they lease them to dwellers. The lease can be renewed after expiration; usually after 70 years.

It is ironic that I should find and own my first house in the place where my father and my ancestors came from; not where I had lived the most, nor where I live now.

Lijiang property has skyrocket. It is considered one of the highest in China. It is comparable to Hong Kong. However, the hike is exclusive to the Old Town.

The house I am buying is near my nephew's house. It is currently not a pretty area; however, I'm informed that the Government is planning to revitalize it. The area was flattened with concrete some years ago; the new plan is to take it back to its original state.

The house is 20 years old. It has the classical Lijiang style. The Tibetan owner had maintained it well, and had developed a beautiful garden in the courtyard. He is an orchard grower, and planted many in the garden. He also planted fruit trees that have grown and bloomed fully.

Recently, he modernized it by adding new wood, glass, and tiles to the house. I don't care for them, so will tear them down.

A typical Lijiang style house is built around a square courtyard. Depending on the finances of the owner, the property may have one house on each three sides of the walls surrounding the courtyard; the fourth wall is used to make the entrance. Typically, there would be one 2-storey house right across the main gate; then there would be one (or two) single-storey house(s) on one (or two remaining) side(s).

The picture below is a sample of a Lijiang-style house. I had considered buying this one. It was located near the Wenbi Mountain Village. It was newly constructed. It had beautiful views from the windows; however, I was not please with the construction of the house. It had cracked pillars and beams made from new wood, instead of the smooth and strong old wood that the old houses have. It had new-type parquet floors instead of the long thick beams found in the old houses. The courtyard was large, but bare.

Click the picture below to see a 1.2 MB slideshow of the a Lijiang-Style house.

Lijiang
House Style

Although the immediate area surrounding my house is not so pretty, it changes drastically just a couple of blocks away. Suddenly, farmland, Wenbi Mountain, Yulong Mountain, and old-style homes come into sight.

Although the neighborhood is mostly low-income farmers, they're a warm and friendly bunch.

Click the picture below to see a 3.8 MB slideshow of my future neighborhood.

My
Neighborhood-1

The neighborhood has many children for Selene to play with.

Click the picture below to see a 2.7 MB slideshow to see children in the neighborhood.

My
Neighborhood-2

Thank Goodness that I will also have flowers, creepers and critters for neighbors; instead of tourists, merchants and merchanize, if I were in the Old Town.

Click the picture below to see a 1 MB slideshow of the plants and insects in my neighborhood.

My
Neighborhood-3

When the purchase goes through, I plan to bring the old house back to its original state. In addition, I will install a chimney and another kind of heating system that would be less polluting. I will also build a nice washroom. All this I will do with the help of Western technology and friends.

For now, I don't plan to move to Lijiang. I bought it for sentimental and investment reasons. I have given permission to my eldest half-brother to live there at his will. I may also use it as a home for my tourist clients.

It's to be seen what becomes of this house and my relationship with it in the future. For now, it will be a home for my parents and ancestors who had never owned one in Lijiang.

My daughter is becoming quite an accomplished photographer. She owns a $150 Sony 4.1 Megapixel Cybershot. She picks her own subjects and shoots them without guidance. Click the two links below to see her photography.

My Daughter's Yunnan Outlook-1

My Daughter's Yunnan Outlook-2