SHOW ME THE WAY TO GO HOME

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Journal - So­phie Den­ing Lonely Planet mag­a­zine Act­ing Pro­duc­tion Ed­i­tor @So­phieDen­ing

A WHILE BE­FORE THE AD­VENT OF GPS

phones, I hired a bi­cy­cle in Lijiang and set off jaun­tily from the mazy wa­ter­ways of the cen­tre, up a big hill into the coun­try­side of Yun­nan, fol­low­ing my nose. Sun­set came swiftly, but I had the where­withal for an overnight stay out of town. The joy of un­re­stricted cy­cling with no pres­sures and no plan peaked around 9pm when I re­alised I wasn’t go­ing to find a guest­house, and should head back to Lijiang. My in­ner GPS let me down, to the ex­tent that I knocked on a few doors to ask for di­rec­tions. In use­less English. Fi­nally, one house­hold pro­duced a boy on a bike who led me miles and miles in the dark. Des­per­a­tion was re­placed by out-and-out grat­i­tude when he de­posited me at a Ti­betan-owned guest­house where a fam­ily group were in the mid­dle of a cel­e­bra­tory din­ner. I have never for­got­ten how quickly they made room for me at their ta­ble, nor how im­mensely soft and puffy the white quilt was on my bed.

‘ The joy of cy­cling with no plan peaked around 9pm when I re­alised I wasn’t go­ing to find a guest­house’

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