It’s always a nice surprise to be surprised by a place. Which happened for me on a recent trip to China. I was on assignment in Dali City, in western Yunnan province, and I was staying with a friend of a friend, in a small hamlet surrounded by farmlands about 15km outside of the old town. Everything about it just seemed to click into place: the location, the pace of life, and the solitude. The narrow lanes were empty most of the day. There were no English signs in sight. And at times it seemed as if dairy cows outnumbered actual residents. These are three quick shots from the neighborhood. From a nice morning stroll.