I’m jumping around chronologically in this post. We didn’t explore Shuhe until after we’d returned from Zhongdian, but for geographical reasons – namely that it was right next door – I’m putting this post right after Lijiang.
As I mentioned, while Shuhe definitely pulls its share of tourists, it felt slightly less tarted up to me than Lijiang and I definitely preferred it of the two destinations. We didn’t have a ton of time there – just the afternoon and evening after we got back from Zhongdian, but the combination of the more rural feel, beautiful architecture, babbling waterways and narrow streets lit by red lanterns in the dusk ended up charming me.
Here’s a collection of visual impressions, starting during the walk from our hotel to Shuhe’s old town.
These cats are on many of the buildings in the area; apparently according to some info I read in town they are auspicious “tiger cat watts” and are traditional Naxi ornaments have something to do with “wealth, pray for the family business thriving” and are a “lucky mascot”. If that doesn’t make much sense then blame the translation, not me.
An example of a traditional Naxi well, with another well-translated explanation: “Enjoy comfortably is convenient near the water live; To the cities time, has created “three wells” culture: Divides into three ponds well water a water seepage, first makes the tap water; The second does washes the vegetable water, And the third does washes the water, water three uses, did not struggle does not snatch, has manifested the Naxi nationality awe nature, treasured environment the fine tradition.” Or, as Lonely Planet puts it “Where there are three pools, these were designated into pools for drinking, washing clothes and washing vegetables.” Slightly more succinct.