After the experience in at the home stay in Xijing I have never been so glad to get on an overnight train!I was completely shattered so opted to hit the sack at 8:30 - very rock 'n' roll!I think Polly was pleased I agreed to swap beds as she was further down the carriage on her own away from everybody else.If truth be told I was glad for the peace and quiet!!!
We arrived in Kumming early morning and opted to get a few hours sleep before we explored to city.The weather was good and the temperature was hovering around 15 even at 6:30am!
I hadn't heard of Kunming before we arrived and had absolutely no idea what to expect. I'm not sure if it was the hot weather, a good bed or just the fact that we were no longer on the road but I really liked this city. It had no major attractions or anything that should make it stand off the map but it was clean, modern and just had a good atmosphere.It was our last night in China and I'm glad that it was a positive one.
I spent the morning wondering through the city's streets and the afternoon with a cold beer watching the world go by - this is what traveling should be about none of that cold weather & sleeping in sheds!
We had our meal in China, the food was lovely but I needed an early night, I must be getting old, I can't do day time drinking anymore! Plus we had fifteen hour coach ride the following day.
The coach was ok, the usual 52 seater jobie.The driver seemed to think he was in a Caterham, we were hurtling along narrow mountain passes at well over 95kph, overtaking everything and anything on the blind bends the guy was mad! - I'll put the video on Facebook!
The scenery was fantastic, if somewhat blurred!We drove through small mountain villages, rice fields banana plantations, it was pretty spectacular, it just a shame I was constantly fearing for my life.
I was texting Liz and Mum while I was on the coach so that took my mind off of my impending death!
We had a couple of pit stops to catch our breath and de stress.The first was interesting with a Chinese man having a poo in the trough next to me whilst I was having a wee, some things you just do not want to witness in life and that was at the top of my 'I do not want to see' list!
The second pit stop was couple of hundred yards from 3 black bears, I think they were in some sort of compound but can't be 100% sure?They were thankfully on the other side of a small ravine, so well out of harms way!
The last stop was pretty cool to, a border control official got on the bus to check our passports etc.along with him was an old lady selling bananas, Jaap was quite happy buying 2 for 2 yaun, but somewhere lost in translation he ended up buying 20 for 2 yaun.Still free bananas for the rest of us!
My Thoughts on China:
The place is huge, and full to bursting! We stop at some cities that I had never heard of before and the population would be fifteen - twenty million, London barely has eight million!
Like in all big cities, people seem only interested in themselves, until you stop and talk to them.
The Chinese use every inch of space available, the cities are full to bursting, the country side is farmed, the mountains are farmed every inch is used and worked to make a living.
The Chinese people don't understand personal space or queuing!
The food is fantastic, but there is very little variation everything is fried or fried. The snacks are weird and the bread is sweet (I crave normal savory bread!!!).The street food is brilliant, meat on a stick, dumplings, fried bread it's all lovely - except for the pancake that gave me food poisoning, that was evil through and through!
Spitting, Chinese people spit everywhere they hock up in the street, on the train, in the lift or just sitting next to you in the internet café. It's disgustingand I don't think I could get used to it!
The poverty gap, the rich are very rich and the poor are conversely very very poor. Walking through the Olympic village or along the Bund in Shanghai you are worlds away from the extreme poverty that is literally just a street or two away.
Sleeping, Chinese people sleep everywhere, if you don't believe me look it up on You-Tube.
The oppression, first of all it's not that obvious but slowly it dawns on you, that China has been closed off to the rest of the world for a long time and to an extent it still is, there are so many controls over the Chinese people, certain books are still banned - including Lonely Planets ???There is no privacy, they want to see your letters/parcels before you post them!
In conclusion it's hard work, interesting, busy, friendly, censored, beautiful, ugly, frustratingand great fun!