September 19, 2010
What a magical day! We woke up early to a big (free!) breakfast at the hotel in Kunming and then met the driver for the five hour drive to Dali. Right away you could see the difference between Xi'an, Pingyao and the Yunnan province. There were rolling green hills and rice fields; the sky was a perfect blue with just a few white puffy clouds. After we checked into the Laughing Lotus and made a much needed trip to the supermarket to pick up the stinkiest smelling bug spray ever and a picnic lunch of supermarket snacks. We strolled through the East end of town and kept walking to the three pagodas and the Chong Shen monastery.
We really thought it was just the pagodas, little did we know there was a massive monastery complex behind them! Mom had dropped her ticket and as we were distracted looking for it, we managed to miss the giant diorama of the site that explained we were going to be walking half way up the mountain through temples.
Each temple was more magical that the last, with giant statues of Buddha, chanting monks, and pipped in relaxing music. I thought the place was closing at 5 so we were rushing to head up the hill through the temples. We finally got to the lake view pavilion and what a sight! Beautiful. As it was a bit after five, it was clear the place wasn't closing down any time soon. So we really took our time in getting back. It was 6:30 before we made it out of the place and strolled back into town for a pizza dinner!