The Inland Sea - Dali, China / by Michael Ryan

Sea Tongue Park, named for its shape viewed from the air.

Sea Tongue Park, named for its shape viewed from the air.

The only photo I managed in the old town just outside our Air B&B. It was too crowded to shoot anything but crowds.

The only photo I managed in the old town just outside our Air B&B. It was too crowded to shoot anything but crowds.

Going anywhere inside China during the Chinese New Year is a double edged sword. The crowds are claustrophobic but the atmosphere is electric. This was intensified in the narrow cobble stoned streets of the old towns surrounding the Er Hai inland sea of Dali. It is literally a crush at many points and junctions, especially where scenic architecture attract selfie fanatics. So don’t expect a relaxing time but if you can deal with the crowds and you’re mentally prepared for the noise then it’s a lot of fun.


Two gigantic snail shells I found on the grassy shore.  My daughter who hates all creepy crawly things insisted they were sea shells.

Two gigantic snail shells I found on the grassy shore.  My daughter who hates all creepy crawly things insisted they were sea shells.

Dali is most famous for its street food (covered in a previous blog here) but Er Hai is its main attraction. It presents a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the old towns. Although still quite busy the calming effect of the waterfront is instantaneous and welcome. As the sea is so large there are plenty of locations to seek out along the shore. Circumnavigating the circumference is a popular two day drive but we picked only two spots to linger.


My daughter loved climbing on the stones on the shore near the city, and though it was quite crowded I managed to get a few shots in without crowded backgrounds. The second was the tip of, Hai Shi, Sea Tongue national park though by the time we got there it was a quite stormy. However the quality of light was nice and I got some of my favourite shots of my family there.

 

Taking a break on the shore of Er Hai. Pandora is wearing a local costume we bought in a cute kids clothes store.

Taking a break on the shore of Er Hai. Pandora is wearing a local costume we bought in a cute kids clothes store.

Like most holiday shoots I might not take a shot all day and then get inspired by one location for an hour or so and then put the camera away again. I think I was too busy sampling the street food in the crowded towns to take any photos there. A crime for a photographer but a memorable holiday with the family. I’d love to go back again some time.

IMG_2208.JPG

Lola wrapped in her scarf - which used to be mine. It got stormy and cold very quickly. Nothing changes faster than mountain weather.

Tom Sawyer made a brief apearance on your holidays. 

Tom Sawyer made a brief apearance on your holidays. 

A helpful stranger just managed to not cut our feet off for this family photo.

A helpful stranger just managed to not cut our feet off for this family photo.

Did I mention it was windy? I’m not sure who is hugging whom tighter.

Did I mention it was windy? I’m not sure who is hugging whom tighter.

IMG_2218.JPG

Lola looking beautiful even in strong winds.