Kunming

return to kunming & an afternoon at yunnan nationalities village

Saturday, February 14:  This morning, we decide to forgo the return bus to Kunming.  Instead, we pay 500 yuan (~$80) to hire a driver to drive us back.  It turns out our driver is a middle-aged Chinese woman accompanied by her husband or boyfriend; it seems they’re going on a day outing to Kunming.  Lucky for them, we pay for their day trip, and even though it costs us a lot, it allows us to avoid the hassle of dealing with Chinese buses and the East Kunming bus station.  A win-win situation.

It takes the couple quite a long time to find our hotel as they are relying on a GPS system, which they can’t seem to follow properly.  Several arguments between them ensue when they can’t agree on a direction, and we try to signal to them which direction they should follow, which is clearly obvious on the GPS!

Our hotel is near Dianchi Lake, which is supposed to be quite nice, but we really never see the entire lake.  The couple drops us at our hotel, The Dianchi Garden Hotel and Spa, which has lovely grounds. However, there is no heat in the room, making for a freezing last day in Kunming.

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Our room at Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Our room at Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

We have a Chinese lunch in the “Western” restaurant (there is no Western food on the menu) overlooking this atrium.

The atrium at Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

The atrium at Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

From our hotel, we walk 400 meters to the Yunnan Nationalities Museum.  We have to walk through a touristy village before we enter the museum, which turns out to be a kind of theme park, much like Disneyland but with no rides.  Alex is still looking for a miniature container to take back as a gift for a friend, and I buy yet another scarf, one of too many I’ve bought on this trip!

Entrance to Yunnan Nationalities Village

Entrance to Yunnan Nationalities Village

The first place we come to is a Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery.  According to a sign at the park: “After propagating to the Tibetan-inhabited regions during the 7th century, Buddhism gradually established the Tibetan-language inherited religious system known as “Tibetan Buddhism,” which was passed down to later generations. Owing to dissimilar channels of inheritance, Tibetan Buddhism branched into different schools, which include the Ningma (Red Sect), the Geju (White Sect), the Gelu (Yellow Sect), and the Saga (Hua Sect). To integrate the cultural essence of different sects of Tibetan Buddhism, two “living Buddhas” were invited to preside over the construction, consecration and opening of the Buddhist shrine, which was bestowed with the name ‘Fusonglin Lamasery.’ Each year, two lamas are dispatched to the lamasery to host the Buddhist rites, making it a Tibetan Buddhist shrine in the true sense to help visitors learn about the religion and Buddhist culture of the Tibetan-inhabited areas.”

Prayer flags at the Buddhist temple at the Yunnan Nationalities Village

Prayer flags at the Buddhist temple at the Yunnan Nationalities Village

Prayer wheels at the Buddhist temple at Yunnan Nationalities Village

Prayer wheels at the Buddhist temple at Yunnan Nationalities Village

More prayer flags

More prayer flags

Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery

Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery

Buddhist museum

Buddhist museum

Buddhist museum

Buddhist museum

Prayer wheels

Prayer wheels

Buddhist prayer flags at the Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery

Buddhist prayer flags at the Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery

Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery

Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery

Sadly, we’re not allowed to take photographs inside this beautiful lamasery.  However, when I notice a Chinese guy sneaking a photo, I take one sneakily too.  Not only does it come out a total blur, but I get yelled at as well. 🙂

a peek inside the Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery

a peek inside the Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery

Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery

Prayer flags

Prayer flags

Beasts of burden

Beasts of burden

After leaving the lamasery, Alex finds a place where it’s possible to zip-line over the lake, which he is thrilled to experience.

Alex zip-lines across the lake

Alex zip-lines across the lake

Alex flying

Alex flying

the young men operating the zip-line

the young men operating the zip-line

At Sun and Moon Square, a sign tells us that the four totem poles on the square symbolize the “white stupa” in the Hani ancestors’ village “Reluopuchu,” which the Hani legends claim to be the ethnic origin of the Hani minority. The totem poles are depicted with patterns depicting the Hani history of birth, village construction, homeland-defending battles, tortuous migration, and creation of the terraced paddy field culture, whereas the patterns on the relief sculpture wall vividly portray the classical Hani legends and the Hani mythological system.

The Sun & Moon Square

The Sun & Moon Square

At Sun & Moon Square

At Sun & Moon Square

Totems

Totems

Totem carvings

Totem carvings

Totems

Totems

Building on the grounds

Building on the grounds

Craftsman at Yunnan Nationalities Village

Craftsman at Yunnan Nationalities Village

At the entrance to another village at the museum, we find this information: All De’ang Minority people worship Theravada Buddhism, which is commonly referred to as the “Little Vehicle Buddhism.”  It is common practice for the De’ang people to build a Buddhist temple in every village they inhabit which is locally called “the scripture-reading house.”  

According to the De’ang custom, any stranger entering the De’ang village must first go to the temple to pay tribute to the Buddha, by which the visitor shows esteem for the De’ang religion. The Buddhist hall normally consists of three terraces, the first of which is the seat of the top Buddhist disciple who has converted to Buddhism for years, the second terrace is the seat of married males, and the third, the seat of women and children.

De'ang Minority Buddhist Temple

De’ang Minority Buddhist Temple

At the De'ang Minority Buddhist Temple

At the De’ang Minority Buddhist Temple

De'ang Minority Buddhist Temple

De’ang Minority Buddhist Temple

After leaving the De’ang Village, we come across this poor elephant who looks very unhappy.  Alex especially is upset by the elephant’s apparent mistreatment by his handlers.

an unhappy elephant

an unhappy elephant

According to information at the entrance to another village: “With a population numbering 130,000, the Jingpo minority people mainly inhabit areas in Yunnan’s Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture.  The Jingpo people worship the primitive religion which claims “all things on earth have souls,” believes in the existence of ghosts and gods, and esteems the Jingpo ancestors. The most important annual celebration of the Jingpo people is the spectacular Munao Zongge Festival, which normally falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month.  When this festival comes, the Jingpo folks form long queues to dance around the tall mascot boards known as the ‘Munao Shidong.’ The number of participants dancing the grandest Munao Zongge Dance even added up to tens of thousands, and for this reason the event has won the name of ‘dance of ten thousand dancers.'”

In Yunnan Nationalities Village, “the Jingpo Village occupies 15 mu of land, on which are constructed diversified kinds of spacious houses and the exquisite, magnificent ‘headman’s mansion.’ Architectures of the village are focused on portraying structural features and layout patterns of the Jingpo-style housing, which could be represented by the ganlan-style houses and the “inverted T-shaped houses.”  The tall “Munao Shidong” boards erected in the center of the square are decorated with patterns and carvings, which symbolize Jingpo people’s will to keep united and forge ahead, as well as their brave and steadfast personalities.”

Costumes in the Jingpo Village

Costumes in the Jingpo Village

The Munao Shidong consists of “4 Shidong poles with which the Jingpo people worship the solar god. The top of the two poles in the middle are painted with sun-shaped patterns which embody males, whereas the tops of the two poles on both sides are painted with moon-shaped patterns which represent females.  The sky-pointed lines painted on the top of the right “lunar Shidong pole” suggest the channels through which humans communicate with heaven and the crossed swords between the two “solar Shidong poles” signify the industrious and brave virtues of the Jingpo people. The S-shaped pattern formed by the Shidong poles represents the dancing steps by which the Jingpo ancestor Nenggong Kangjia led his followers to dance the Munao Zongge, and the hardships the Jingpo ancestors suffered in their southward migration.”

The Munao Shidong

The Munao Shidong

costumed characters at Munao Shidong

costumed characters in the Jingpo Village

A girl drying some kind of food

A girl drying some kind of food

alley of lanterns

alley of lanterns

lake at Yunnan Nationalities Village

lake at Yunnan Nationalities Village

Dainchi Lake at Yunnan Nationalities Village

Dainchi Lake at Yunnan Nationalities Village

After all our walking, Alex and I are fizzling out.  Like all Chinese parks, this one is huge and sprawling.  Everything is always done on a grand scale in China, except the toilets.

We come upon a Yi Village and find this information at the entrance:  Numbering 4.71 million, the Yi minority is Yunnan’s largest minority group in terms of population and areas of distribution.  The Yi people mostly live in compact communities along the Jinsha River and Yuanjiang River reaches, or in the hinterland of the Ailao Mountain and Wuliang Mountain.  A minority group keen on singing and dancing, the Yi people are extremely well-known for their dage, tiaoye, dasanxian (large 3-stringed guitar), and diejiao dances. Torch Festival is the Yi people’s biggest annual celebration that shows the most distinctive ethnic minority features. 

Major parts of the Yi Village include the relief sculpture wall showing three tigers and the tiger-head figure representing the Neizushi or the founder of the Yi religion, all of which symbolize the “tiger- and eagle-worshiping” culture of the Yi minority people. The totem poles on the Solar Calendar Square are richly decorated with imageries of the sun, tiger, fire and the Eight Diagrams, around which are 10 moon-shaped sculptures that face different directions. On the outer circumference of the square are stone carvings of the 12 shengxiao (12 animals that represent the 12 Earthly Branches, used to symbolize the year in which a person is born).  

Tiger sculpture wall in the Yi village

Tiger sculpture wall in the Yi village

The Tiger Head figure

The Tiger Head figure

I find a description of the Solar Calendar:  The Solar Calendar divides a year into five seasons. Each season has two months; one is male and the other is female. Each month has 36 days; a year has 10 months. And in a year, there are 5-6 other “New Year celebrating days.” It is simple and easy to remember. In the Solar Calendar year there are carved stone statues for the twelve animals symbolizing the year in which a person is born and ten “solar-lunar balls” which symbolize the source of life. In the center is the totem pillar which the Yi minority people worship.

Solar Calendar Square

Solar Calendar Square

Since I was born in 1955 and Alex was born in 1991, we share the sheep symbol.

The sheep

The sheep

Inside of the Tiger Head sits Founder Bimo. According to a placard beside the sculpture: “‘Bimo’ is the transliteration of a Yi language term in which ‘bi’ means ‘chanting scriptures’ and ‘mo’ means an ‘elder with profound learning.’ For the Yi people, Bimos are priests who not only preside over ceremonies, prayer-saying and sacrifice-offering rites, but also sort out and teach the Yi language and author and hand-copy Yi language classics and literature. The Yi people believe Bimos have special talents to communicate with gods and ghosts, offer guidance to earthly things, command people’s souls and manage culture. Bimos play a vitally important role in the Yi people’s activities, including births, weddings, funerals, disease-treatment, festivals, hunting and farming.

“Legend has it that the Yi-minority language was invented by Founder Bimo.  The Bimo statue enshrined here has shown Yi people’s folk customs such as esteeming knowledge and worshiping the eagle and tiger.”

Founder Bimo

Founder Bimo

We also wander around and find a village fashioned after buildings we saw in Dali, with paintings on the walls.

Model of Dali homes

Model of Dali homes

And we find a model of the Three Pagodas of Dali; we saw the real thing in Dali.

Models of the Three Pagodas of Dali

Models of the Three Pagodas of Dali

After this, we feel we can’t walk another step, except that we have to walk back to the entrance to the museum and then the 400 meters back to our hotel.  Oh dear.

Prayer flags

Prayer flags

It’s a long haul, but we finally make it back to the hotel where we eat a dinner of egg rolls and a shrimp and pepper stir-fry. Then we take a little walk around the grounds.

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Dianchi Garden Hotel & Spa

Tomorrow at around noon, Alex will fly from Kunming via Beijing back to Virginia.  At around the same time, I will fly onward to Mandalay, Myanmar.  Since I don’t want to haul all my winter clothes around in the 90+ degree heat of Myanmar, I pack some of my winter stuff into a duffel I have brought along just for that purpose.  Alex will take it to the U.S. with him tomorrow.  Luckily, that will lighten my burden a little.  It was tough packing for this holiday because I had to pack cold weather and hot weather clothing.

There’s nothing much to do at the hotel, and we’re both exhausted from all our walking, so we go to bed quite early, shivering under the comforters in our non-heated room.

Categories: Asia, China, Dainty Garden Hotel & Spa, Kunming, Travel, Yunnan Nationalities Museum, Yunnan Province | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

exploring the fringes of the stone forest {part 2}

Friday, February 13:  After Alex and I emerge from the dense inside of the Major Stone Forest Scenic Area, we head to the perimeter road to retrace our minibus ride on foot.  The sky is blue, the air is crisp, and wispy clouds are sweeping across the sky, making the Stone Forest more picturesque than it already is.  We enjoy walking around and stopping in the grassy areas to enjoy the views.

Stone Forest

Stone Forest

We learn a lot from the placards in the park: The Stone Forest is composed of stone pillars of varying heights. The higher ones are called stone forest and the shorter ones stone teeth.  The Stone Forest evolves from underground. The carbonate rock was initially eroded by groundwater; and then, embryonic stone teeth took shape underground.  After they were exposed above ground during tectonic uplift, they became stone teeth.  When these stone teeth grew higher, they became stone forest.  We can imagine that the stone forest’s development is a dynamic process; the stone teeth today may become stone forest in the future.

We continue to walk and come to the Bushaoshan Scenic Area on the eastern side of the Major Stone Forest Area.  It covers one and half square kilometers. Bushao Mountain was named after the posts for the patrolling guards of uprising farmers in the late Qing dynasty.  The rock peaks and pillars spread out in picturesque disorder, together with the surrounding pine forest, creating gorgeous natural scenery.  Due to its relatively high elevation (the highest peak at 1,796 m), you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire surroundings of the Major and Minor Stone Forest.

Buoshan Scenic Forest

Bushaoshan Scenic Area

Bushaoshan Scenic Area

Bushaoshan Scenic Area

Peaks and pinnacles

Peaks and pinnacles

Bushaoshan Scenic Area

Bushaoshan Scenic Area

We’re getting exhausted from our travel this morning from Kunming.  We also did a lot of climbing up and down on the steps in the dense part of the Stone Forest, and now we’re covering a lot of ground as well.  Alex lies down on the grass to take a break.

Alex takes a rest

Alex takes a rest

Bushaoshan

Bushaoshan

stone forest and stone teeth

stone forest and stone teeth

Bushaoshan Scenic Area

Bushaoshan Scenic Area

Lone peaks

Lone peaks

sparsely arranged

sparsely arranged

moody stone forest

moody stone forest

clouds and colors

clouds and colors

Bushaoshan

Bushaoshan

Peaks and bushes and stones

Peaks and bushes and stones

lone figure

lone figure

There are some peaks in the park the Chinese call “imaginal stones.”  They are stones that look like imaginary characters:  This isolated stone column is very like a figure, wearing a cowl-like hat worn in winter, with a packsack on his shoulder and a whip in his left hand, urging the flock of sheep.  This is the “Shepherd Suwu.”  Suwu was the diplomatic envoy sent by Emperor Hanwu to Xiongnu.  He was put under arrest and became a shepherd for 19 years.

Shepherd Suwu

Shepherd Suwu

Shepherd Suwu

Shepherd Suwu stands tall to the right

Shepherd Suwu

Shepherd Suwu

A towering stone column looks like an old man who is hunchbacked, wearing a robe and standing on the field with his hands clasped behind his back.  He looks like a “calm wanderer,” deep in thought and satisfaction.

Calm wanderer

Calm wanderer

calm wanderer

calm wanderer

There is a tall rock column and short one, very like the figures of a mother bringing her child along.  The front one is the mother, looking perfectly calm, kindly and decorous with a youngster of Sani nationality behind her.  They are wandering slowly among the stone columns; the formation is called Wandering Mother with Child.

Wandering Mother with Child

Wandering Mother with Child

Unusual shapes

Unusual shapes

In general, the color of the Stone Forest is light gray. But you may also find red, brown and yellow patches on the rock pillars.  However, these are not the original color of the rock, which is whitish gray.  After the rock is outcropped and exposed, it is subjected to weathering and colonization of microorganisms, in particular the growth of algae.  These processes have changed the color of the rock surface.

the path into the forest

the path into the forest

Panorama view of the Stone Forest

Panorama view of the Stone Forest

Some near-horizontal lines are commonly seen on the rocks in the Stone Forest.  These lines are the bedding of rocks. Bedding is the intrinsic feature of carbonate rock that developed through gradual bottom-up deposition, stratum by stratum, in the process of carbonate rock formation in oceanic water.  As growth rings are to a tree, bedding is to limestone.  A bedding plane generally aligns parallel to water surface, below which the rock deposits.  When the carbonate rock undergoes weathering and erosion, fissures are likely to form along the bedding plane.  They are the horizontal lines we see today.  One of the critical conditions for the stone forest’s evolution is that the bedding plane should retain its original near-horizontal alignment.  In the case of a large inclination angle, the stone pillar will slide and collapse along the bedding plane.

Horizontal lines

Horizontal lines

horizontal lines in the stone forest

horizontal lines in the stone forest

horizontal lines in the forest

horizontal lines in the forest

A sign in the park lists the world renowned sites of stone forest landform as being 1) Stone Forest of Yunnan, China; 2) Bemarsha, Madagascar; 3) Gunung Mulu, Malaysia; and 4) Mt. Kaijende, Papua New Guinea.

The Stone Forest of Yunnan has been inscribed upon the World Heritage List of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural Land Natural Heritage.  Inscription on this list confirms the outstanding universal value of a cultural or natural property which deserves protection for the benefit of all humanity.

The Wannianlingzhi (Eternal Mushroom) Scenic Area sits on the west side of the Major Stone Forest Scenic Area and covers about 3 square kilometers. The area features expansive and undulating landscape. High and low rock pillars are scattered sparsely among haystack hills and corroded depressions. The rocks present distinctive strata due to intensive stratification.  A great many mushroom-like pillars of varying sizes tapering toward the peak were formed as a result of corrosion and rock crush, hence the name Wannianlingzhi (Eternal Mushroom).

We walk briefly into this scenic area, and we can see the “eternal mushrooms” on the hill in the distance, but we’re too tired to walk all the way up to it.  We end our detour in the midst of farmland and rolling hills and return to the perimeter road.

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

One of the “eternal mushrooms” met an early demise.

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

a non-eternal mushroom in the Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area

We leave the Wannianlingzhi Scenic Area and head back to the perimeter road, where by now we’re exhausted.  We keep seeing the tour minibuses zip past on the road, going in the opposite direction.  We try to flag several down, but they are all filled to the brim with people and keep zooming past.  Our legs are killing us by now, and we’re utterly exhausted, but we have no choice but to keep walking.

walking back to the entrance along the perimeter road

walking back to the entrance along the perimeter road

The Stone Forest from the perimeter road

The Stone Forest from the perimeter road

more stone forest

more stone forest

reflections

reflections

more reflections

more reflections

Alex takes a rest

Alex takes a rest

cloud halo

cloud haloes

Finally, we make our way back to the park entrance.  We still have to walk the 500 meters back to our hotel.  The whole excursion has been tiring, but it’s been a gorgeous day full of stunning scenery, and we’re exhausted in a good way.

When we return to the hotel, we head immediately to the hotel restaurant and get a kitchen worker’s attention.  We’re the only ones there, but the woman takes our food order after we make our choices using my WayGo translation app.  We’re so happy to finally have a meal to eat, having eaten just some bread snacks in the park.

Tomorrow, we’ll head back to Kunming.  We’ve decided we’re going to have a driver take us back, no matter the cost, just to avoid the bus and that East Kunming bus station.

Categories: Asia, China, karst, Karst landform, Kunming, Shilin, Stone Forest, Travel, Yunnan Province | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

an expedition to the stone forest {part 1}

Friday, February 13:  We check out of our hotel early to head to Kunming’s East Bus Station.  I’ve seen big bus stations before,  notably in Istanbul, but this is by far the most sprawling and chaotic bus station I’ve encountered in China.  The lines are 20-30 people deep at about 15 ticket counters, and they’re moving slowly.  We never imagined we’d have so much trouble getting a bus ticket to Shilin, home of the Stone Forest.

The bathrooms in this bus station are of the horrible trough variety, and even Alex, who hardly gets phased by bathroom things, says, crinkiing up his nose, that the men’s room is the most disgusting place he has ever seen.

We’re the first ones on the bus at 10:00 a.m. As this is the kind of bus that doesn’t leave until it’s full, we sit and wait for an hour, until 11:00, before we finally take off.  As we’re on the east side of Kunming, we’re in countryside almost immediately, and we enjoy the green hills and blue skies, dotted with some nice suburban apartments, on the 1 1/2 hour bus ride to Shilin.

We’re dumped at some kind of depot in Shilin, near the entrance to the park, but we need to find our hotel and check in.  We’d also like to get some lunch.  We find a taxi after much hassle, as no one at this depot speaks English; we’re then taken to the Stone Forest Holiday Inn, where we find that no one at the hotel speaks English.  The hotel seems far removed from anywhere else, and though we try to find out about a restaurant, we cannot get any information from the staff, who all just look at us as if we’re creatures from Mars.  We finally give up and ask about the entrance to the park.  We’re waved to the right direction outside the hotel.  We start walking, not having any clue how far we have to walk to the entrance.  Finally, after about 500 meters, we come upon the entrance to the Stone Forest.

Entrance to the Stone Forest

Entrance to the Stone Forest

All waterways lead to the Stone Forest

All waterways lead to the Stone Forest

Just inside the entrance, after paying our combined entrance fee of 360 yuan (~$58), we see the usual hordes of Chinese tourists along with this pretty little pond.

Little pond immediately upon entering the Stone Forest

Little pond immediately upon entering the Stone Forest

Our first priority is to find a restaurant.  Usually Chinese parks have all kinds of places to eat, but we can’t find anything here.  We follow the crowds along a road lined with buildings that seem to have no purpose.  We come to a spot where people are queuing up to get on small open-air minibuses, and we hop on one of them.  We take a ride counterclockwise around the perimeter of the park, enjoying the scenery along the way.  We’re determined to get off if we see any kind of food kiosk.

We find a food stand along the road in front of the Minor Stone Forest Scenic Area.  We find some bread snacks and sit on a beautiful green lawn among the karst formations to enjoy our small and insufficient picnic.

The Minor Stone Forest Scenic Area

The Minor Stone Forest Scenic Area

A placard in the park tells the origins of the word karst:  Karst was initially a transliteration of the German term karst.  Originally, karst was the name of a limestone area in the Istria Peninsula of Slovenia in Europe where limestone is widespread. At the end of the 19th century, Czechoslovakian scholar J. Cvijic researched the grotesque limestone landform and termed it karst.  Since then, karst has become international geological jargon referring to the dissolution process and morphological features occurring in carbonate rock.  In China, karst is also called Yangong.

After our picnic, we head into a dense karst area where we can climb to a viewing pavilion.

The Stone Forest

The Stone Forest

Limestone pinnacles

Limestone pinnacles

view from above

view from above

view from the minibus around the Stone Forest

Stone Forest

views from the perimeter road

Stone Forest karst landform

The Stone Forest

The Stone Forest

Stone Forest

Stone Forest

Odd-shaped pinnacles

Odd-shaped pinnacles

peak ecstasy

peak ecstasy

Back to our picnic area, we find a sign introducing The Minor Stone Forest Scenic Area:  It is well known for its elegance.  The rich peaks and pillars are distributed in delicate spatial configurations amidst trees and meadows.

The Minor Stone Forest Scenic Area

The Minor Stone Forest Scenic Area

The Minor Stone Forest

The Minor Stone Forest

We head across a small pool into the Major Stone Forest area, which is a dense forest of karst pinnacles with stone walkways and steps built through it.

I love how Chinese signs at tourist attractions are so romanticized.  A sign here says: This tiny water pool is called Lotus Flower Pool with majestic Major Stone Forest to its south and beautiful Minor Stone Forest to the north.  This water pool is encompassed by fragrant magnolia, carpet-like lawn, and evergreen ivy.  Thousands of red carps are swimming in the clean water.

Lotus Flower Pool

Lotus Flower Pool

odd-shaped peaks

odd-shaped peaks

Another sign we find in a green valley informs us: On the left side of the gorges, green vines have fully covered the rock, whereas not a single vine has grown on the right side.  As the legend goes, this is where Ashima and her lover Ahei chanted their songs of love accompanied by wooden and leaf musical instruments, hence the name “The Lovers Valley.” It was once the shooting set for The Monkey King Subdues Thrice the White-bone Demon in the TV series Journey to the West.

Lovers Valley

Lovers Valley

Lovers Valley

Lovers Valley

Major Stone Forest peaks

Major Stone Forest peaks

As we wander further into the depths of the pinnacles, the crowds thin out considerably and we have the Stone Forest almost to ourselves.

Inside Major Stone Forest

Inside Major Stone Forest

Major Stone Forest

Major Stone Forest

In the depths

In the depths

Inside Major Stone Forest

Inside Major Stone Forest

Steps in Major Stone Forest

Steps in Major Stone Forest

Alex climbing in the Stone Forest

Alex climbing in the Stone Forest

Major Stone Forest

Major Stone Forest

Major Stone Forest

Major Stone Forest

A Thread of the Sky refers to those deep and narrow rock cracks and channels.  They developed along the vertical cracks (joints) due to water erosion.  When you walk into these locations, only a thread of the sky can be seen from below as the surrounding precipitous rocks block almost all the incoming daylight.

Inside the Major Stone Forest

Inside the Major Stone Forest

Gnarly trees in the Major Stone Forest

Gnarly trees in the Major Stone Forest

Red rocks in the Major Stone Forest

Red rocks in the Major Stone Forest

Major Stone Forest

Major Stone Forest

At the bottom of the rock wall, there’s a cavity whose dimension allows a person to crawl in and out. It’s called Rock Prison. Says the sign: Inside is a steep and narrow valley surrounded by high-rising peaks that may even block flappy birds.  According to legend, during Yianfeng Emperor’s reign in Qing Dynasty, it was the location for Zhao Fa, leader of the ethnic Yi people’s insurgent forces, to imprison his prisoners of war.  It was once the shooting set for The Monkey King’s Imprisonment under the Five-Finger Mountains by Gautana Buddha.

Alex at the entrance to Rock Prison

Alex at the entrance to Rock Prison

We emerge from the depths of the Major Stone Forest and begin to walk back along the perimeter road in a clockwise direction, returning over the same territory where we rode the minibus earlier in a counterclockwise direction.  Now we can enjoy some closer views of the areas we zipped past.

Categories: karst, Karst landform, Kunming, Shilin, Stone Forest, Travel, Yunnan Province | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

a flight to kunming & an afternoon at yuantong temple

Thursday, February 12:  At mid-morning, we have a flight from Dali to Kunming that is delayed by nearly an hour.  So far, of all the flights we’ve taken in China, it’s the norm that the plane has departed late, at least by a half-hour.  Of course, any delay is frustrating, as airports are notoriously boring.  The small Dali airport is especially so.

At Dali Airport waiting for our flight to Kunming

At Dali Airport waiting for our flight to Kunming

Inspired by the multitudes of Chinese selfies: Alex & me on the plane to Kunming

Inspired by the multitudes of Chinese selfies: Alex & me on the plane to Kunming

Finally, we take off for our one hour flight, but by the time we arrive in Kunming to the Kai Wah Plaza Hotel, it’s well after lunchtime.  We enjoy a meal in a huge banquet room where we’re the only customers.

Our hotel in Kunming, Kai Wah Plaza

Our hotel in Kunming, Kai Wah Plaza

Soon after lunch, we take a taxi to the fabulous Yuantong Temple.  This temple is considered to be Yunnan’s grandest and most important Buddhist site.  While most Buddhist temples are built on a hill, you enter Yuantong Temple from above and descend along a gently sloping garden path. Giant cypress trees, flowers and tropical foliage line the garden path to the temple making for peaceful yet impressive entry.

Entrance gate to Yuantong Si

Entrance gate to Yuantong Si

King Yimouxun of the Nanzhao Kingdom built the temple during the late 8th and early 9th century during the Tang Dynasty, and the restorations  performed from the Qing Dynasty onward have not changed its unique mixed architectural style of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties.

Yuantong Si

Yuantong Si

It’s notable that this temple sits right in the midst of Kunming and so is a surprisingly quiet oasis in the center of a Chinese city’s normal bustle and chaos.

Under the eaves at Yuangtong Si

Under the eaves at Yuangtong Si

Yuantong Si

Yuantong Si

 a riot of color under the eaves

a riot of color under the eaves

Inside Yuangtong Si

Inside Yuangtong Si

Colorful eaves

Colorful eaves

Jolly fellow

Jolly fellow

Alex mimes the Buddhist figure

Alex mimes the Buddhist figure

Buddhist figure at Yuangtong Temple

Buddhist figure at Yuangtong Temple

The temple complex is built around Yuantong Hall (Mahavira Hall), which is known as the “Fane on the Water” for it is surrounded by a large pond. A stone bridge, upon which sits an elegant octagonal pavilion, connects Mahavira Hall and the temple entrance. The pavilion is connected to the rest of the complex by various bridges and walkways.  This structure of a Buddhist hall surrounded by water is unique in China.

Yuangtong Temple

Yuangtong Temple

Yuangtong Temple

Yuangtong Temple

Yuangtong Temple

Yuangtong Temple

pretty bridge at Yuangtong Temple

pretty bridge at Yuangtong Temple

Details at Yuangtong Temple

Details at Yuangtong Temple

Yuangtong Temple

Yuangtong Temple

Yuangtong Temple

Yuangtong Temple

Yuantong Temple

Yuantong Temple

The temple is an active site of pilgrimage.  Along with the patronage of the local people of Kunming and Yunnan in general, Buddhists from around the world come here to pay homage, there are special Buddhist services two times each month, and the Buddhist Association of Yunnan Province is located here.

Eaves at Yuangtong Temple

Eaves at Yuangtong Temple

The main hall at Yuangtong Temple

The main hall at Yuangtong Temple

Bridge over the pond and Yuangtong Temple

Bridge over the pond and Yuangtong Temple

The octagonal pavilion sitting atop the stone bridge over the central pond is dedicated to the multi-armed Guanyin and white marble Sakyamuni.

the octagonal pavilion in the center is dedicated to a multi-armed Guanyin

the octagonal pavilion in the center is dedicated to a multi-armed Guanyin

a white marble Sakyamuni in the octagonal pavilion

a white marble Sakyamuni in the octagonal pavilion

Main Hall at Yuangtong Temple

Me in front of the Main Hall at Yuangtong Temple

According to Travel China Guide: Yuantong Temple: Sakyamuni, Amitabha and the Medicine Buddha, all Yuan Dynasty statues, are found in the main hall. The surrounding 500 Buddhist Arhats who are carved in the walls are rare treasures noted for their perfect proportions and lively appearances. Also in this hall are two ten meter high pillars from the Ming Dynasty that are each engraved with a dragon.  Their bodies and claws are extended into the air as if they are ready to fly.

Faded frescos on the back wall of the main hall were painted in the 13th century.

In the main hall, two huge central pillars are wrapped in colorful dragons

In the main hall, two huge central pillars are wrapped in colorful dragons

Behind the main hall is a new annex with a graceful gilded bronze Buddha flanked by peacocks, donated by the Thai government.

the new annex in the back of Yuangtong Temple

the new annex in the back of Yuangtong Temple

curving rooftops on the annex

curving rooftops on the annex

multi-layered roof

multi-layered roof

Inside the annex

Inside the annex

curvature

curvature

Alex and the guards

Alex and the guards

guarding the annex

guarding the annex

Me & the guards

Me & the guards

a little pond filled with turtles and frogs

a little pond filled with turtles and frogs

colorful eaves

colorful eaves

Main Hall at Yuangtong Si

Main Hall at Yuangtong Si

Main gate through the tropical foliage

Main gate through the tropical foliage

The main gate to the temple

The main gate to the temple

incense sticks

incense sticks

After leaving this gorgeous temple, we go next door to a Bank of China, where I need to get $500 (USD) for my trip to Myanmar.  I’ve been told we should have crisp new large US dollars to exchange for the local Myanmar currency, the Myanmar Kyat, in order to get the best exchange rate.  Foreigners in China are only allowed to exchange yuan for a maximum of $500 USD each day.  I only had time before leaving Nanning to get about $500, plus Mike brought me $600 from home, as I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get crisp new large US bills from China.

After leaving the bank, it happens to be rush hour.  We cannot for the life of us find a taxi.  We wait and wait, trying to flag down numerous taxis, but they’re all occupied.  We decide if we walk to the major north-south road in Kunming, Beijing Lu, and walk about 10 blocks, we can eventually make our way back to our hotel, which is right on that street.  We walk and walk and walk and we’re getting exhausted from the hike.  Finally, we catch the eye of a three-wheeled taxi.  We show him the address of our hotel from my Chinese translation from Booking.com on my phone, and we’re off for an agreed 15 yuan.  Alex thinks it’s a real adventure as he’s never ridden on a contraption such as this before.

In the bar area of our hotel, we order two pizzas, Mexican and Vegetarian, and share them both.  We are too exhausted from our day of travel to do much else, so we relax in our hotel.  I get some night shots of Kunming from our hotel window.

Downtown Kunming at night from our room at Kai Wah Plaza

Downtown Kunming at night from our room at Kai Wah Plaza

Nighttime view of Kunming from our hotel window

Nighttime view of Kunming from our hotel window

In the morning, we’ll be heading to the Stone Forest in Shilin.  We know it will be a hassle as we have to go to the East Bus station to catch a bus, but little do we know how much of a hassle it will be.

Categories: China, Dali, Kunming, Travel, Yuantong Si, Yuantong Temple, Yunnan Province | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

exploring qiongzhu si, the bamboo temple, in kunming & flying onward to lijiang

Wednesday, February 4:  This morning, Alex and I go for a walk in our Kunming neighborhood in search of a breakfast place.  We find a bakery where we sit at an outdoor table and eat some Chinese-style breads, which taste nothing at all like the breads we’re used to having in the West.  They always have some strange unidentifiable flavor in them.  Even when they’re supposed to be savory breads, say one with a hot dog inside of it, the bread is still sweet.

Our flight today to Lijiang isn’t until 7:55 p.m.   I have several issues I’d like to take care of today.  First, we’ve decided we want to go to visit Qiongzhu Si, the Bamboo Temple, so we need to arrange a return taxi to the hills 10 km to the west of the city.  Second, we will be arriving in Lijiang by plane quite late this evening, so I’d like to arrange an airport pick-up with our hotel, the Lijiang Orchid Land Boutique Resort.  I know Lijiang is an old town, with pedestrian streets, and I don’t want to arrive at the gates of the old town late at night and have to walk all over the town looking for our hotel.  Thirdly, I’d like to arrange to pay extra to keep our hotel room until 5:00, at which time we’ll leave for the airport.

First, I text my student assistant Angela, and ask if she’ll write my request to keep the room until 5:00 in Chinese.  She does so, and I show the receptionist the message; she agrees and charges us an extra 100 yuan.  Second, I text my teaching assistant Jack, because during exams he looked up the information about our Lijiang hotel and wrote the name and address in Chinese.  I ask him if he could call the hotel in Lijiang and ask for the airport pickup at 8:40 this evening.  He takes care of that for me.  Third, I show the Chinese name of Qiongzhu Si in my Lonely Planet China to the receptionist and I say “taxi.”  It all miraculously falls into place, but as you can see, nothing is easy in China, especially when no one speaks English.  Lucky for me, I have student assistants and teaching assistants and students who can help me to get along.

We hire a taxi to take us up to the temple; the driver will wait for us while we explore.  It’s a larger temple than I imagined it would be.  The Bamboo Temple was established during the Yuan Dynasty as the first temple dedicated to Zen Buddhism in Yunnan. It has been burned down and reconstructed several times. The present structure mostly dates from the late Qing Dynasty.

at the entrance to Qiongzhu Si

at the entrance to Qiongzhu Si

the eaves of the entrance to the Bamboo Temple

the eaves of the entrance to the Bamboo Temple

The temple is most renowned for the painted clay sculptures of the 500 Buddhist arhats.  In Theravada Buddhism, an Arhat is a “perfected person” who has attained nirvana.  In other Buddhist traditions the term has also been used for people far advanced along the path of Enlightenment, but who may not have reached full Buddhahood.

The sculptures, known as the “sculptured pearls in the oriental treasure-house,” were created during the reign of the Qing Emperor Guangxu (1875–1909) when the temple was undergoing major repairs. Li Guangxiu, a folk clay artist from Sichuan Province, took five assistants to Kunming where they spent seven years (1883–1890) creating the 500 clay sculptures (Wikipedia: Qiongzhu Temple and Lonely Planet China).

arhat statues

arhat statues

Temple grounds

Temple grounds

Buddha

Buddha

statues near the entrance

statues near the entrance

statues near the entry

statues near the entry

I’m not sure who this multi-armed god is in the temple below.  I always thought the multi-armed gods were Hindu, but this is a Buddhist temple. If anyone can enlighten me, I’d really appreciate it! 🙂

According to Wikipedia, the arhat sculptures are distributed over three buildings: 216 each are in the Fanyin Pavilion and the Tiantailai Pavilion, 68 are housed in the temple’s main hall, the Daxiong Hall. In the Fanyin Pavilion and the Tiantailai Pavilions, the arhat sculptures stand beside a central Buddha sculpture in six rows, with three levels in each row. Each arhat is about one meter tall and is characterized by unique facial expressions and body gestures. This is a radical break from the usual fixed style of Buddhist sculptures. Through the use of exaggeration, the artists created lively images. Some arhats are reaching for the moon with extremely long arms, some are crossing the ocean on extra long legs. There are bare-footed monks and naked-bellied Buddhas. Some are lost in deep thought, some are telling each other good news. Some are tranquil, some angry, some surprised, some curious. One is scratching his back, another is poking his ear.

surrounded by arhats

surrounded by arhats

the arhats

the arhats

arhat statues around multi-armed god

arhat statues around multi-armed god

I love this temple so much!! Not only is it colorful and well-maintained, but it surprises me that it’s here at all.  I really didn’t know there were any Buddhist temples in China.  I find in Yunnan Province, much to my surprise, there are many.  I also love all these arhat statues and the gorgeous grounds.  Or maybe I’m just happy to have blue skies and reasonable temperatures!

another temple on the grounds

another temple on the grounds

details

details

Below, to the right of the Buddha, you can see a crowd of arhats, one with an extraordinarily long arm. 🙂

here on the right you can see some long-armed arhats and others

here on the right you can see some long-armed arhats and others

I venture off the beaten track a bit and find myself on the fringes of the monks’ living quarters.

the monks' laundry and living quarters

the monks’ laundry and living quarters

I make my way back to the temple complex, as I don’t think I’m supposed to be in the monks’ quarters!

The Bamboo Temple

The Bamboo Temple

Qiongzhu Si

Qiongzhu Si

I love these temples

I love these temples

There is a vegetarian restaurant in one of the buildings, and Alex and I order some potatoes with peppers.  They are very oily, so I don’t eat many of them.

Alex at lunch

Alex at lunch

potatoes and peppers in oil with rice

potatoes and peppers in oil with rice

After lunch, we continue to explore the grounds.  I love the architectural details on these temples. I get so excited by buildings sometimes that I think I should have been an architect.

Qiongzhu Si

Qiongzhu Si

Qiongzhu Si

Qiongzhu Si

red lanterns

red lanterns

courtyard

courtyard

more red lanterns and wonderful details

more red lanterns and wonderful details

Love the flying eaves of Chinese traditional buildings

Love the flying eaves of Chinese traditional buildings

extraordinary detail

extraordinary detail

more wonderful details

more wonderful details

Buddha

Buddha

We see a path going up a hill, so we follow it to this long and colorful pavilion.

pavilion on the hill

pavilion on the hill

ancient sculptures

ancient sculptures

me by the pavilion

me by the pavilion

Alex of course has to do some hand stands as he’s a personal trainer and a calisthenics connoisseur.  He loves to do handstands in all kinds of outdoor places.

Alex does a handstand in the pavilion

Alex does a handstand in the pavilion

inside the pavilion

inside the pavilion

ceiling art

ceiling art

I love the view of the rooftops from the pavilion.

rooftops

rooftops

After thoroughly exploring this temple, we head back to our hotel, where, since we paid extra to keep it until 5:00, we relax until it’s time to leave for the airport.

I’m not hungry in the evening, as these Chinese meals with rice always fill me up.  Alex, who can eat anything anytime, opts for some beef noodles at the airport.  Our flight is slightly delayed but without incident, so we arrive at the Lijiang airport close to 9:00 p.m.

The driver sent by the hotel to pick us up is late.  After a couple of phone calls back and forth to the hotel, we finally meet up with him and get into his rickety van.  He begins his drive on the expressway, a very nice highway, but soon he veers off and begins driving on an old potholed road adjacent to the highway.  He drives on this road, bumping along uncomfortably, for nearly an hour!! Sometimes the road veers away from the highway, and it looks like we’re out in the middle of nowhere.  Then the road goes back to where we can see the highway right beside us.  I guess he’s trying to save money on the toll or something, because he never gets on the nicer highway until we are almost to Lijiang!

He takes us to the south gate of Lijiang Old Town, and he walks us through the town quite a long distance to our hotel.   I’m sure glad we arranged the hotel pickup because it would have taken us forever to find it.

Once we arrive, we check in with Merry, a wonderful Chinese young woman who speaks excellent English.  She turns out to be a big help to us during our time in Lijiang.  We will be here for 4 nights as Lijiang is supposed to have a lot of fun things to do in and around the town.  We’re thrilled with this lovely hotel and the beautiful town.  We can’t wait to explore tomorrow. 🙂

Our family room at the Lijiang Orchid Land Boutique Resort

Our family room at the Lijiang Orchid Land Boutique Resort

The only negative is that the room is quite cold and all we have is a space heater, pictured above, to heat up the entire space.   As you can imagine, anyplace in the room out of range of the heater, such as the bathroom, is icy cold.  Luckily, the bed can be heated up.  It’s not like an electric blanket; the actual mattress heats up.  It gets too hot if you leave it on all night, but it’s quite cozy when you’re just lounging around on the bed.

Our room at Orchid Land

Our room at Orchid Land

Alex’s bed is in a loft area up some stairs.  It has a little space heater too, but his bed doesn’t heat up like mine does.

Alex in his second floor loft

Alex in his second floor loft

After we settle in to the hotel, we go out in search of food.  It’s very late for dinner by this time, but we do find a little restaurant where we have quite a delicious meal, topped off with some tea, and a beer. 🙂

Alex at the restaurant in Lijiang

Alex at the restaurant in Lijiang

 

 

Categories: Airplane, Asia, China, Fairyland Hotel, Kunming, Lijiang, Lijiang Orchid Land Boutique Resort, Qiongzhu Si, The Bamboo Temple, Transportation, Travel, Yunnan Province | 14 Comments

exchanging mike for alex in nanning & onward to kunming

Monday, February 2:   We get to the airport in time for Mike to check in and he says his goodbyes to me at the departure gate.  I’m sad to see him off; I’m also disappointed that our holiday didn’t go as I had hoped it would.  I had envisioned us being energetic and outdoorsy, hiking through the pinnacles of Zhangjiajie and riding bicycles, motorbikes, and bamboo rafts through the stunning karst landscape of Yangshuo.  It was not even close to what I imagined it would be, although I think Mike still managed to appreciate it for the cultural experience it was.  While I’ve spent a lot of time in Asia, this was his first time to the region.  I’m sure it was an assault on the senses much as it was to me when I first I arrived in Korea in February of 2010.

Mike has promised me that he will write something about his impressions of China.  When he writes it, I’ll post it here on my blog.

I think it’s important that my family sees my living situation in a foreign country.  Alex has experienced all three countries in which I’ve lived and worked, as he visited me in Korea, Oman and here.  Mike visited me in Oman with both boys, and now he’s been to China.  It really helps when my family has an understanding of how I live, and they can see and feel what it’s like for me.

Mike wonders if he will get to see Alex as he gets off the plane.  Mike will fly to Beijing on the same plane on which Alex arrives.  Once Mike disappears to board, I have to wait some time for Alex, so I sit in McDonald’s and have some coffee.

When Alex finally arrives, he tells me that he was walking on a lower level while departing the plane.  Suddenly, he heard Mike call his name from a higher level.  They were able to chat for a few minutes and then Mike went on his way, and Alex walked out to greet me.   Pardon this picture. I took it hurriedly with my iPhone and it’s really blurry!

Alex arrives at Nanning Wuxu International Airport

Alex arrives at Nanning Wuxu International Airport

We take a taxi to the university campus main gate and, rather than taking Alex directly to my apartment on campus, I take him, suitcase and all, to my favorite dumpling place, the Red Sign, across the street from the main gate.  He enjoys his first taste of Chinese food in China; this is after all one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Nanning.

After he drops off his suitcase, and gets the two-minute tour of my tiny apartment, we go out for a long walk around the campus.  After that, he’s tired and wants a rest, and I have a couple of errands to do to prepare for our trip.

Later in the evening, I take him to my favorite Korean restaurant at the City Comfort Hotel, which he loves.  Later, we return to my apartment, where we happen to find a couple of good English movies on Chinese TV.  There isn’t much to do in Nanning, as you can probably guess.

Tuesday, February 3:  This morning Alex and I wake up to a steady rainfall.  Enough already!   I’ve really had it with the rain over the last two weeks.  There isn’t much we can do in Nanning but wait until our 3:30 flight to Kunming, the capital and largest city in Yunnan Province.

At the airport, we check our bags, but mine sets off an alert.  They take it aside and open it, finding my offensive iPad inside.  Apparently that is the problem.  The security woman waves the suitcase through, but forgets to change the alert.  When we go to the departure gate, we’re pulled over by police because of the original security alert.  A policeman takes me back to security, where the woman again waves us through.  However, she still doesn’t change the alert, because when I actually go to board the plane, I set off another alarm.  Luckily, after a few moments of general alarm, they allow me to board.  I guess I must be careful to put my iPad in my backpack for our remaining domestic flights.

Our flight is delayed for nearly an hour, which I’m told is typical in China.

When we fly into Kunming, we can see blue skies and not a cloud in the sky.  The weather forecast for the next week is fabulous.  Kunming is known as the “City of Eternal Spring” because of its perpetual spring-like weather; it’s an ideal climate for blossoms and lush vegetation. Located at an elevation of 1,890 meters (6,200 ft) on the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau with low latitude and high elevation, Kunming has one of the mildest climates in China, characterized by short, cool dry winters with mild days and crisp nights, and long, warm and humid summers, but much cooler than the lowlands.  The period from May to October is the rainy season and the rest of the year is dry.  With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 30% in July to 69 percent in February and March, the city receives 2,198 hours of bright sunshine annually. (Wikiipedia: Kunming: Climate)

We take a taxi to our local Chinese hotel, the Fairyland Hotel.  It’s nothing special; I didn’t want to book a really nice hotel when we’re just in transit to Lijiang.  No one at this hotel can speak English, which makes for some challenging moments, the first one being when they give us a room with a double bed despite the fact that I booked a room with twin beds.  Luckily I find “twin-bedded room” in my Pleco dictionary: shuangrenfang.  I show the word to the receptionist and she gives us another room.

By the time we get settled into our hotel, it’s dinnertime, so we go out in search of a restaurant.  We find a bustling Muslim restaurant, where we order beef dumplings with Chinese chives and beef dumplings with carrots, and a cold cucumber salad. It’s a great little meal, and so far Alex is loving Chinese food.

Muslim restaurant in Kunming

Muslim restaurant in Kunming

Alex at dinner

Alex at dinner

Our meal - beef dumplings with Chinese chives, beef dumplings with carrot, and cold cucumber salad

Our meal – beef dumplings with Chinese chives, beef dumplings with carrot, and cold cucumber salad

Back in our room, I look through the pages I’ve torn from my Lonely Planet China guidebook about Kunming, trying to figure out what we can do tomorrow.  Our flight to Lijiang doesn’t leave until 7:55 p.m., so we have a lot of time to explore. 🙂

Sadly, Alex has to put up from here on out with my snoring, which is a continual frustration for him.  In retrospect, I should have suggested he bring some earplugs. 🙂

 

 

Categories: Asia, China, Fairyland Hotel, Guangxi University, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Kunming, Nanning, Nanning Wuxu International Airport, Sino-Canadian International College (SCIC), Travel, Yunnan Province | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

Japan Wonders

Exploring Japan's popular tourist spots and off-the-beaten path

A lot from Lydia

You can learn a lot from Lydia...(It's a song, not a promise.)

Ink Arts by Carol

My site for offering my alcohol ink arts

I see Beauty everyday

Blessed be the ones that see beauty where others see nothing

BOOKING IT

Debra's Excellent Adventures in Reading and Travel

Marsha Ingrao

Traveling & Blogging Near and Far

PIRAN CAFÉ

Notebooks from a trampfest. Travel tips, tales and images, online since 2006.

Word Wabbit

Wrestless Word Wrestler

Cardinal Guzman

Encyclopedia Miscellaneous - 'quality' blogging since August 2011

A Faraway Home

Stories and tips from home and far away

Pit's Fritztown News

A German Expat's Life in Fredericksburg/Texas

Under a Cornish Sky

inspired by the colours of the land, sea and sky of Cornwall

sloveniangirlabroad.wordpress.com/

A blog about expat life and travel adventures written by an Slovenian girl living in Switzerland

Let Me Bite That

Can I have a bite?

Running Stories by Jerry Lewis

Personal blog about running adventures

Finding NYC

exploring New York City one adventure at a time

The World according to Dina

Notes on Seeing, Reading & Writing, Living & Loving in The North

snippetsandsnaps

Potato Point and beyond

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

The Eye of a Thieving Magpie

My view of this wonderful and crazy life - as I travel and explore.

renateflynn.wordpress.com/

A (Mostly) Solo Female Exploring the World

NYLON DAZE

From London to New York, living in an expat daze

Blue Hour Photo Workshops

Photography is a constant travel to new places

Travel Much?

Never cease to explore and tell!

%d bloggers like this: