You’ve heard of Shangri-La, right? You know, that mythical place from James Hilton’s fictional novel, “Lost Horizon?” Well, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you probably know that Shangri-La is also a city in China that draws many a tourist thanks to its name!
You see, it wasn’t always this way. The town used to be called Zhongdian and was renamed simply as a tourist draw. Their justification? The town must be the fictional Shangri-La because it bears this distinctive feature from the novel:
That’s right! A pyramid shaped peak! Apparently that’s one of the things James Hilton (who hadn’t actually traveled to Asia at all) used to describe his fictional Shangri-La.
But it isn’t just folklore that draws people here. The town is in fact quite charming and has a nice Tibetan flare to it (though it’s nothing compared with the full on Tibetan towns I experienced in the Sichuan province!). The old part of town is quite picturesque and is where most visitors stay.
Along with the influx of tourists comes, of course, an influx of shops selling souvenirs. And with an influx of shops comes an influx of names, which means people have to get a bit creative to stay ahead of the pack. And that is precisely how you end up with signs like this one. Please take note of the fact that this is a clothing store, not a place of lodging:
Programming Note: Say What?? is shifting to a twice weekly format and will be published on Mondays and Fridays.