22.02.2011 - 25.02.2011 24 °C
Kunming; 25th February 2011.
I can hear all the traffic on the road in the city that sprawls before me and may I say that it is rather beautiful. Despite Kunming's old and well lived in appearance, the Spring city is one that never appears to sleep, mearly slow down to a gentle jog in order to catch its breath for the unbelievably magical chaos that is to ensue in the day ahead.
My time in the Spring City so far has been a surreal one. It does not feel like I am in a foreign country, nor does the fact that, apart from my fellow volunteers, I am yet to lay eyes on someone of non-asian decent worry me in the slightest. Kunming, the city of spring feels very much like home and its people equally like fellow siblings in the people's republic.
So far my adventures have taken me through a rather turbulent, 7hr flight from Melbourne to Singapore (which saw me tossed fromthe row of chairs I had fallen asleep on to the floor o.O). From which a further 7hrs was spent in Changi airport with fellow Australian volunteers, followed up by a 3.5hr flight to Kunming Airport. Koolah Koolay! Destination one reached!! (only to be held up by no one other than our English counterparts on a delayed flight, trust a Pom lol). And so ends the day of the 22nd Feb. well, there was the whole bus trip to the hotel and the small scale banquet but I shant bore with more monotonus dribble.
Day two saw the commencement of our attendence at Robert's School of Languages in the outskirts of Kunming. Advanced Manderin lessons to kick off the day followed by several lessons on teaching non-english speaking students and how to make your point known via body language and the like (absolutely hilarious!!) and an assortment of other amusing oddities (such as the realisation that the hotel gives you loo paper in rolls of approx. 20 sheets..... and there is a "poo basket", I think I shall let the name speak for itself *shudder* ). Oh it was also Odette's 18th Birthday today (23rd Feb) so after class we all walked down to the Green Lake Park and wondered around before ordering dinner (in mando) to the delight and dismay of several of the waitresses. Much pointing and speaking like morons was involved despite the efforts of the three of us who spoke mando.
The following evening dinner was had followed by a little thing called English Corner held in the Green Lake Park, Kunming's main public gardens (very beautiful with many lakes). I suppose I should explain the concept of English corner before continuing.
[quoteChinese students and city residents passionately practice their English skills at this small square. It is often visited by hundreds of people every Friday night. Some people can be seen giving speeches in English or leading open discussions. English-speaking students who visit the English corner are often quickly surrounded by eager students wanting to practice their English or find a language partner.
So here we were, 13 naitive English speaking people in the middle of English corner with approx. 200 people crowded around us, listening and talking to us about various topics. One man, so boldly informing me of the fact that in Australia we use the pouches of Kangaroos as a place to keep "human babies" whilst their parents are at work (I promise it was so difficult to supress the laughter welling up inside me I actuallly commenced to cry which seemed to distress him some what, not my aim).
Kunming by night, expecially on such gloriously balmy ones such as tonight, is simply amazing. Wandering through the streets as the sun set on the back of my neck and watching all the kiddies in their sailor moon type uniporms crowd the streets eating many tantalising (and utterley gag worthy) morsels was quite a nice way to watch the world go by from the comfort of the park.
Well I must go now, my time in the internet cafe is almost up and a couple of the older women have asked me to join them in their evening tai-chi session (techno style).
So until next time,