Easy to take either train or bus. I wouldn't worry about safe/unsafe busses. The train is less polluting - if you take a day train (I think there is still one, but I might be wrong) you'll actually see something of the country and people. When you get to the Xiaguan train station take a local bus to Dali Old Town, about half an hour away.
@dudeson: "to compare military service with random attacks, doesn't even make sense."
right - the military is organized to bring a hell of a lot more violence down on people, most of whom are usually noncombatants, than random violence does, and is furthermore at the command of institutions whose goal is to dominate, control and/or exploit others in a mass fashion.
That staying forever in the country/culture you were born into will keep you ignorant.
You "have been a victim far more often to file it as 'bad luck'".
OK - I have been a victim far less often - should I file it as 'good luck'? This in 12 years in Mainland China.
Now if you want to know if I think that shit happens, the answer is, yes it does.
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Not quite what you'd call a jumping place, but not bad at all for rather standard US-type meals, not overly expensive, and with a really good salad bar that's cheap, or free with most dinner dishes after 5:30PM. You can get a bottle of beer or even wine if you really want to, but I've never seen anybody do it - maybe that's just to take out. Chinese Christian run, and they hire people with physical disadvantages, who are pleasant and helpful. Frequented by foreign (mostly North American) Christians and Chinese Christians - was started by a Canadian couple associated with Bless China (previously, Project Grace), who are no longer here, but no religious pressure or any of that. Steaks are nothing special, and I avoid the Korean dishes, which I've had a few times but which did not impress me.
As a shop and bakery, it's very good bread at reasonable prices, of various kinds (Y18 for a good multigrain loaf that certainly weighs well over a pound. Other stuff too, like granola and oatmeal that is local, as well as imported things, including American cornflakes and so forth, which some people seem to require.
Large portions, seriously so with the pizza, which is Brooklyn/American style, I guess. Convivial, conversational, good place to drink with good folks on both sides of the bar, especially after about 9PM.
Really good pizza and steaks. The wine machine fuddles me when I'm a bit fuddled, & seems unnecessary. Good folks on both sides of the bar.
Ain't no flies on Salvador's.