When my friends asked me what the favorite part of my trip is, I bet many of them would expect me to say that it’s the beautiful sunrise (日照金山) of Meili Snow Mountain (梅里雪山). Before the trip, I thought that would be my answer to this question too! But, now, I would say that my experience with the people whom I met in Yunnan is the No. 1 factor that has made my trip so good, so memorable.
These people who have highlighted my trip include not only those of the minority tribes, such as Tibetan (藏族), Mosuo (摩梭族), and Naxi (纳西族), who live in Lugu Lake (瀘沽湖) , Shangri-La, and other smaller towns, but also the Naxis and the Hans who live in the very-touristy Lijiang Old Town like Axiali (阿夏麗), Linzi(林子) of Lijiayuan (李家院), as well as XiaoWu (小武) and XiaoMo (小莫), the travel agent in Lijiang Old Town.
People there are just so simple, plain honest and straight-forward. There were two separate incidents of my tip getting rejected, once by the tour guide of my horse ride in Lashihai (拉市海, a wetland park in Lijiang), and once by a taxi driver in Lijiang. While I would guess that tipping is more or less an expected thing for these people who are working directly with loads of tourists in the service industry, I tipped without feeling pressured, but only as a way to show my gratitude for their friendly and accommodating services.
But they rejected it! And I almost couldn’t believe it when the taxi driver said to me, “You came to Lijiang. You must need a lot of money during your trip. So, keep it for yourself…”
“OMG! What’s wrong??”
I was tipping this taxi driver 10 rmb for his half-day of service that cost only 20 rmb. And thru our conversations earlier, I learned that Yik and I were his only customers that day. I wonder if he knew that we stayed in guesthouses that cost 100-160 rmb a night, and the horse ride cost us 200 rmb per person…
Now, I recall another conversation we had when we got into the taxi on time, as previously promised, after sightseeing in Shuhe Old Town (束河古城).
The taxi driver said, “If you guys didn’t come back on time as said, I probably would just leave. I would wait for 30 minutes, at the very most…”
Yik said, “But if you did so, you wouldn’t be able to get the 20 rmb from us!” (We were asked to pay only by the end of the day.)
“That’s ok! It’s only money. I am tired and I want to go home and see my family. Rest and family are more important to me…” the driver replied.
What a reminder! 🙂
This is the tour guide of our horse ride in Lashihai (拉市海).