Thursday, November 26, 2009

November 27, 2009 - Killing time in Kunming..

We have been in Kunming now for about two weeks now and are really enjoying staying in the same place for more than one night. During our downtime we have planned the rest of our trip, arranged for our visas, booked flights, re-planned our gear (we realized that we would not in fact need the same stuff in Thailand that we needed in Mongolia), and started going to a gym again. DVDs can be bought on every street corner for $1, so movies and popcorn have become a nightly affair. Jen stated last night that "I can't think of a single thing in this world that I love more than popcorn". Although this is a worrisome statement for a wife to make to her husband on their honeymoon, I will let it go as it has been quite a while since we have had popcorn. Mostly though we 've spent time enjoying living in a large Chinese city. Here are some photos from our time so far in Kunming.

This is a picture of a park just outside of town that we bike around often. Although I would never swim in the lake, it is nice to be able to bike/walk around the lake front which was impossible in some of the other larger Chinese cities such as Beijing or Chengdu where public green space was non existent.

This is another photo from the same park as above (although in this part there was a small entrance fee of about $1). These parks are always full of police (more like security guards actually) and these two groups had gotten bored and started playing bumper cars on their patrol bikes.

A view of all the people on a pier watching and feeding the sea gulls.

These two girls came up to us to talk on the pier (This happens to us often. Sometimes it seems they just want to practice their English, but more often they are curious about where you come from and what you think of China) and mentioned how beautiful the sea gulls were. I am not sure if they were just weird or if this is just a cultural thing, because Jen and I just finished talking about how ugly and annoying they were.

Hot peppers drying in a restaurant. Mmmm! We have finally gotten used to the spicy food and no longer have to ask for "yidianr la" (just a little spicy).

A pig up for sale at a stall. I have no idea why he is so flat. Maybe flat pork is better.

All the luxuries of home....

Kunming feels like a very rich city, but even here you get funny mixes of old and new. Just a few blocks from the above Wal-Mart and KFC, we can run into a horse and cart selling produce.

This was another odd sight for us. In some of the more rural areas dog meat was very popular and we would often ride by men skinning a dog, or restaurants advertising dog meat, but generally in the larger cities we hadn't seen this yet. As well in Kunming pet dogs seem to be more popular than anywhere else we have been, so running across this dog meat for sale in Wal-Mart was interesting.

Below are a couple shots of our home for the month. Nice furnished apartments were hard to find and we were lucky to get such a good deal on this one.

Like most large Chinese cities, Kunming clean, well cared for, and has impressive infrastructure. The more time I spend in China the more impressed I am with the infrastructure they have built up.

The view from the roof of our building. Notice the solar panels on the roof of every building which heat water for each apartment. These are great and give us super hot water for free most of the time, and we have a gas backup if you want a shower at 2am when the sun is down. I have no idea why these haven't caught on in North America. My guess is just due to individual laziness, but that is kind of boring so lets say it is a conspiracy by big oil. Tell your friends.

We have seen bikes which do almost everything here: make cotton candy, polish shoes, roast nuts, bake potatoes, sew clothes, BBQ skewers, carry livestock, act as taxi and haul water. This bike though convinced me that a bike can be made to do almost anything; he was driving around the city with his aquarium bike selling gold fish.

On that note I thought I would post this photo that someone emailed me. Maybe a project once we get home. It looks pretty sweet, but would be a bitch up the hills.

And finally a view of a road near our apartment that we have been cycling to keep in shape...

1 comment:

edmond said...

flat pork looks delicious! (as all porks do, really...)