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Lijiang, China

The Oriental Venice

Before starting, I want to tell you that, as you well know, this project was born with the idea of ​​being inclusive and supportive while learning to enjoy with our senses, which is why Alternative Reality is a podcast that both visually impaired and people with difficulty can enjoy. to listen on the platform of your choice.

episode transcription

Hi, nice to greet you. I’m Yael Yancelson and I’m very excited to be your guide and companion on this magical journey through the senses and imagination. This is a space to give you, so give me your hand, close your eyes, breathe and let yourself go on an incredible journey.

In this episode we are going to take a very nice and interesting trip, as we grab our imaginative power and quickly take a plane to the small city of Lijiang in China. Accompany me!

A long trip, but it’s worth all the world, you’ll see. We land in the north of Yunnan and we are greeted by Lijiang, a city that has eight centuries of history, but with the good fortune that that history is quite intact in its streets and beauty. Famous for its canal systems, its appearance, history and culture are linked to the descendants of the Naxi people. Something interesting is that this is a town with 300 stone bridges. It looks impressive, don’t you think?

YanLi, originally from one of these ethnic villages that still preserve their customs, welcomes us, and takes us walking between wooden houses that descend a hill, and that have been intact for a millennium, you feel the weight of history in these hills , try to perceive it. Be careful when walking, there are very steep descents full of rocks, I tripped and almost fell but YanLi kindly held me and nothing happened…

Lijiang, one of the best preserved ancient cities in China. More than a thousand years of history is reflected in beautiful buildings with curved eaves built by the Naxi culture, the majority in this remote area of ​​the Yunnan province.

The town of Lijiang, has been nicknamed the Oriental Venice, is famous for its numerous water canals, I have been impressed by its natural beauty that mixes with the historic buildings and ancient murals found in nearby towns.

In the gastronomy of this region, different flavors and local products abound, and the influence of the Han and Tibetan cultures is perceived. The traditional food of Lijiang is what the Naxi people have developed using local products that have a great variety thanks to the climate in the region. The basic ingredients of their diet are rice, wheat flour and corn. The dishes integrate spicy, bitter and sweet flavors and clearly taste the spices of the Tibetan people and the Han ethnic group.

And let’s keep walking through these steep streets and look, they offer us some traditional snacks like jidou liangfen, a kind of chickpea jelly; baba, a type of potato cake eaten with a condiment; and bingfenliangxiao, a dessert made from rice and roses. YANLi decides to try the rice noodle soup, typical of the region, and prepares us niàng sangróng, steamed spicy and highly aromatic mushrooms, and zhu biao ròu, a dried pork stew. He has mentioned to us that the formal meal of the Naxi people is a banquet called sandiesgui that includes 39 courses, including snacks, specialties and desserts.

To drink, butter tea is very popular, which, as its name implies, contains butter, yak milk and salt, and is usually used to maintain body temperature in cold winters. Also, rice wine is consumed to refresh. So cheers!

Lijiang and the surrounding area have an abundance of teahouses, Western food restaurants and Chinese specialty establishments, which have been increasing with the popularity of the destination. Entering the Lijiang food market now is a must during a visit to this wonderful city.

This remote site flourished with the tea trade and today is a popular tourist destination that seems straight out of a fairy tale, with enchanting air, snow-capped mountains and rivers.

The city of Lijiang is famous for its urban design and its old water distribution system that still works, in which the canals in the upper part are for consumption, those in the middle part are used to wash fruits and vegetables, and those in the lower part are for washing clothes. The numerous canals, with some 350 bridges, constitute the vital arteries of the community and have been used to call it the Venice of the East as I mentioned before. The main source of water is the Black Dragon Pool, which is the center of Jade Spring Park. This park boasts views of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, hiking trails up Elephant Trunk Hill, and is home to the Dongba Culture Research Institute; the Dongba Cultural Museum, with exhibits that help understand the Naxi culture, and several historical buildings. In the Jade Spring Park, the Longshen Temple stands out, which has two wings and a large hall; the Deyeu Pavilion, located in the center of the emerald waters of the lake, and the white marble Suocui bridge- I find everything very interesting, what do you think, tell me. Lijiang’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stretches around Sifangjie Square and features neatly aligned typical tile-roofed houses and streets paved with bluish rocks forming a network connecting every corner. Here you can perceive the tranquility of the life of the local people and visit the Residence of the Mu, which preserves the essence of what was the Naxi palace and political center, with some 100 buildings that have delicate decorations, paintings, calligraphy works and typical gardens of southern China.

Other attractions in Lijiang are the Lion Mountain Park, ideal to appreciate the panorama of the old town, with the Wangu Tower at the top, which consists of a five-story wooden construction, on 16 22-meter-high pillars and five eaves; Wenchang Palace, which was the venue for lectures and examinations during the Qing dynasty; the Gemelas Stones Garden, with a hydraulic wheel; the Dragon Pond White Horse Temple, with a crystal clear body of water used for washing clothes, and the Zhongyi Market.

The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain with its steep slopes, where winter sports and scientific research are currently practiced, is one of the main natural attractions in the vicinity of Lijiang.

Did you know that jasmine, so widely used here, has its Chinese name Moli and a spicy flavor, the old sages say that it helps to properly move the Qi of the stomach, (which according to traditional Chinese medicine is the vital energy or life force that maintains the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health of a person in balance) and to dissolve the tan that is the acid so it balances the digestive function and improves mood.

I found it fascinating to discover together the natural beauties around this mountain that comprise the Agua Blanca River; the so-called Mar Seco, a meadow that was once a glacier where different landscapes can be seen depending on the season; a plateau surrounded by fir trees linked to a Naxi legend about love for which it is frequented by romantic couples, and the Yufeng Temple, with a design that combines Buddhist, Taoist and Naxi styles,

The beautiful walk and bike ride we took to visit the nearby villages of Baisha and Shune allowed me to experience the calm with which the Naxi live and see several ancient temples and famous murals, which took around 300 years to create and merge the cultures of different nationalities. I hope you have also felt that calm and amazement at everything we managed to see and enjoy on this tour with the 5 senses and the imagination.

And if you like to cook,CLICK THE BUTTON so you can go to my kitchen to prepare a traditional WonTon soup and send me a photo of your dish to share in our community.

Or if you prefer, you can continue to travel

Well, this is how today we leave the city of Lijiang in China, we will travel every week to another corner of this wonderful world, to know, enjoy and fly with the imagination, I wait for you and I ask you that if you liked the content, share it with your friends and give me a like and a review of your comments because with that you help me a lot to raise the ranking of this podcast, ALTERNATIVE REALITY A UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT SPACE THAT CREATES COMMUNITY….

We make the difference. I invite you to get to know the ONCE foundation for solidarity with blind people in Latin America/ and if you like to contribute we will be very grateful…….

Until next week and thanks for traveling with me.

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