We celebrated Joshua’s birthday one week early with our much-anticipated, much-dreamed-of, much wished-for bike ride along Erhai Lake which took us through farmlands, narrow alleyways, chic guest houses punctuated by views of the serene lake and mountains. Rain didn’t dampen our spirits; it cooled the long ride.
After biking for almost 20 kilometers, our butts hurt and we needed a break so we stopped by a cafe which had two white cats sitting comfortably on the sofas. We had hot chocolate, waffles and french fries.
On our way back, we saw a hot air balloon taking passengers up and down but tied to the ground. Corny! We’ll pass on that one. Aside from guest houses, souvenir shops, package tours and eateries, the other way to make money off tourists is to get a sizable piece of land, plant loads of beautiful flowers and watch the selfie-seekers come.
Our last rest stop was admiring huge spiders and their webs spun across trees.
I wish Dali’s vegetable farms and natural landscape don’t get encroached by too much development. There are areas with heavy equipment preparing for some massive projects and behind that, the farmers continue their backbreaking work on the fertile land fed by mountain streams. Jason told me that the Chinese government is limiting the number of new structures by imposing exorbitant costs of license to build. Let’s hope that’s deterrent enough and ten years from now, the bike ride around Erhai would still be dominated by nature, not man.