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Breezy Kunming

Kunming, China

Kunming is really nice, i stayed here a bit longer than i intended but it was worth the extra time just to check the place out. The hostel got steadily busier through the week mostly with Aussies because there was an international football game on the wednesday, a world cup qualifier no less between China and the Socceroos! There banter was that the Chinese had staged it in Kunming because of the high altitude (Kunming sits on a plateau around 1900 meters above sea level) the Chinese team then basing themselves here for 3 weeks and the Australians not arriving till the day before. It did the Chinese no favours as the game was a dire affair, a tedious 0-0 draw though the Chinese missing a penalty in the last minute was quite good fun! i wondered down to the stadium to see if I could pick up a ticket on the cheap and check out the atmosphere and there were a few available but not in my sort of price bracket. So i ended up watching it back at the hostel with some disgruntled Chinese.

The day previous I had wondered around the city checking out the park and finding a (very expensive) book shop in the extremely cosmopolitan feeling university area. I also went to a Buddhist temple which was quite an experience, full of pilgrims I was the only westerner there, the temple itself was situated amongst green pools of water teaming with massive goldfish, even bigger toads and sunbathing terrapins. It was a really nice place actually a lot nicer layout than the ones i went to in Nepal, in China they seem to concentrate more on the whole temple complex being aesthetically pleasing rather than just the main temple. I also stumbled across the provincial museum and went inside to look at there display of locally excavated bronzes. They were incredible, really highly detailed and in excellent condition after being taken from tombs of previous dynasties warlords. Some of the drums and tables dated back as far as the Warring states period of 400BC.

Followed Lonely planes instructions to head to the muslim area for food only to find it had been flattened ready for the construction of yet another mall. I wound up finding an Uyghur restaurant and was giggled at whilst i perused the completely chinese menu. I plumped for the the only pictured meal which looked like Chicken, it turned out to be some sort of heavily spiced white internal organ, Possibly intestine, it wasn't the best but not to worry. I found another little muslim section the day after near the hostel and had some excellent kebabs, particularly good mushrooms!

Yesterday i got a couple of buses to the lake Dian Chi a massive freshwater lake just to the south of the City, I was heading for a collection of cliffs on the western shore which contained some temples and grottos that had been dug into the cliff face by a Taoist monk in the 11 hundreds. A fair hike up the hill (i didn't take the chairlift!) brought you to the cliff face and you could walk up and down the face along tiny passages and tunnels chiselled into the rock, was most odd. The freshly painted gods in the temples were a bit garish and strange too. That trip took up the whole day along with a stroll back off the hillside past another couple of temples with really nice gardens, oh and my bit of good karma for the day as i helped some locals push there broken down car UP a hill!
Bought my bus ticket south today so now i'm just chilling enjoying the fresh, sunny and breezy weather today before my first experience of a night bus tonight!

permalink written by  Dan on March 28, 2008 from Kunming, China
from the travel blog: Been there, Dan that!
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Looking forward to pics,esp of buddhist temple.
I can't imagine what the spicy internal organ was! Ma x

permalink written by  carol atherton on March 28, 2008

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