For all the bustling and excess of the main streets of Dali there are plenty of stories to be learned beyond the surface. The Mosques reminders of a late 19th century uprising to found a Muslim state. Back streets covered in grain to be dried. Uniformed schoolchildren walking in small groups nearly always with the same snacks in hand, three lollypops, four noodle soups, two lotus drinks. The coal delivery team making the rounds to deliver fuel for the nocturnal BBQ feasts. The post office clerk’s initial helpfulness coming to a screeching halt at the strike of 6 o’clock. The elaborate tie dye setups at the staid local museum.