Day 13 - Sunday, April 22, 2012 – Visit the Lu Feng World Dinosaur Valley; Drive to Dali; Visit the Valley Between 13,000' Peaks, Discuss the Trading History with Nations to the South
April 22, Happy Earth Day! The temperature was 67° and the humidity was 63%. We left the big city of Kun Ming at 9:15 and drove west and then northwest to our destination of Dali. Tashi gave us an overview of the day and offered the option of going to see one of the largest dinosaur excavations in the world.
As we got closer to the city of Konglonggu we began to see pictures of dinosaurs painted on the homes and barns. This area is home to one of the richest paleontology discoveries in the world.
The site has been worked for over 75 years and they still are discovering new species of the huge ancient reptiles. We all agreed the museum is the best dinosaur collection we have ever seen.
The Lufeng World Dinosaur Valley has skeletons in situ, still in the ground, as they were originally found to give visitors an idea of how the excavations began. An I-MAX theater gives people a chance to relive the days of the giants and then the meteorite destruction to this era.
There is also a family theme park that was opening at noon. Joanne, Vic, and Duane rode the Wave Roller while Tashi, Pang Ga, and Gennie took photos and watched them get off no worse for wear.
It was 12:15 by the time we left the park and continued west through the foothills. The Kun Expressway had several very long tunnels and a six lanes of well paved roadway.
Pang Ga tried to make up some of the time we had spent in the Dinosaur Theme Park as we still had a long way to drive. Tashi decided to stop for lunch at a truck stop on the road. We found one with many trucks parked outside, the sure sign of good food.
We continued on after lunch through the city of Chuxiong, home of the Yi people and the road climbed to an elevation of 7,858 feet. It was cloudy with some rain but we could still see the Cangshan Mountains.
We arrived in Dali, famous for the highest quality of marble and the home of the Bai people. It is a very windy city with many wind turbines and monasteries; however tourism now accounts for 90% of the income. Backpacking in the hill country is popular for international travelers.
The outsides of the homes in Dali are decorated with stunning black and white paintings illustrating scenes from nature, especially birds. The elevation of the city was about 6,656 feet and the temperatures were cool; 63° and a humidity of 76%.
Tashi had arranged for us to take a small boat across Erhai Lake but because of our arrival time he was not sure if we could still go. Luckily for us, we got into one of the last boats for the day and had a 20 minute ride to the Temple on the other side of the lake.
When we arrived we went right to the Sky Mirror Temple grounds just as the vendors were packing away their goods. We walked over the Yu Hong Bridge and reached the gorgeous gardens of the Buddhist Temple.
Tashi and Duane waited at the bottom while the rest of us climbed to the top of the temple. From the top we could see the gardens below, Erhai Lake, and the Cangshan Peaks in the distance; 19 of them average more than 13,000 feet.
On the way down we talked with the young monks who were caring for the temple. They agreed to allow us to take their photographs. One of the monks gave Gennie a red prayer ribbon and told her to tie it on the tree close to the temple and make a wish. She did!
The boat captain took us back to the dock where Pang Ga was patiently waiting for us. We had a short drive back to the old city but it took longer because of the narrow roads and construction on the road leading to our hotel.
We had a late lunch so we asked Tashi if we could not eat dinner as it was already 7:00. After we checked into the hotel we had a few snacks in our room and did our GarciaTrips homework.
The weather was cool and the air was clean so we could open our window and listen to the music playing and the rain falling in the courtyard. We finished the log for the day, sorted pictures, and we were able to get to sleep before midnight.
Accommodations: Dali Gurong Hotel - - - Meal: B & L
Please see our Trip Evaluation -- Click Here -- A Complete Review of Myths and Mountains -- From Vietnam to China: Ethnic People of the Border -- China with Tashi Lamasang