The planning for our first day trip from Lijiang went something like this:
Matt: Do you want to go to Lashihai tomorrow?
We knew that we were going (but not quite where), that it was pretty (but not quite what), and that we should be ready to leave at 9am the following morning. That's about it. Hooray for advance planning and knowledge.
Lashihai, as I found out, is also known as Lashi Lake. It's the largest highland lake in Lijiang county and is an important site for migratory birds. Several Chinese minority groups, most notably the Naxi people, inhabit the area.
The trip began with a donkey ride up and down the surrounding environs, providing a fantastic view of the lake from above as well as glimpses of the lives of the locals. The local people live a life of subsistence farming that has changed little over the years. We felt a bit self-conscious about being the wealthy tourists traipsing through the village.
After lunch, we headed to the lake for a boat ride. The tour guide punted us along, Cambridge-style, and relayed what I can only imagine was interesting information in Mandarin. I stared peacefully at the water and the sky and the birds, lost in my own thoughts.
While waiting for the van, we took out a frisbee and taught some of the local guys how to throw. They learned pretty quickly; B. and I both found this to be the highlight of the day trip. (It seemed like the highlight of their day too. B. got invited to do shots of baijiu with them.) I wish we'd had an extra frisbee to leave there.