26.02.2011 - 26.02.2011
And so closes another evening in the Spring City....
Well, it can be said that the last few days has been little more than absolutely hilarious. Saturday afternoon spent with Odette, Lewis and Becca was definatly one well spent, (refer to photos). Initially a group of us were going to go for a hike up the mountain (don't ask which because I did not retrieve that much information :P) but the four of us couldnt be arsed so explored Kunming a little more.
Setting off from a resturant-style food court with full and slightly dissapointed bellies (the quest for Duck was woefully met by Duck brest bone with a small amount of duck and a absolutely dismal, slightly cold, spinach, bok-choy and pumpin broth) the four of us meandered through the sights, smells (trust me there is several of those, both mesmerising and bad enough to raise the dead) and traffic of yet another gloriously sunny Kunming day. Wondering our way through the city and up the large main roads we came across street hawkers selling a range of things from iPhone covers (spelt iFone) through to multi-coloured chicks and ducklings (refer to images) before realising that we were in a part of the city that took us almost an hour to reach in the steady traffic (only 15mins walking distance from our hotel). If that does not say something about the state of the Russian-Roulette style traffic here then I do not know what will!! Asking the old lady knitting a jumper for directions to a market where we could brush up on our haggling skills, took us down little back streets where the old court yard houses lined the streets and family dogs (that look itchy as all hell) ran about our feet as kids chased them up the narrow street. Stumbling upon a little rundown looking store we wondered in, looking at its various items and the collection of antique hair pins, bracelets and other miscelaneous items of jewelry beneath the grubby, glass display cabinet the toothless shopkeeper greeted us in manderin. Her croaky "Nihao" was scaresly heared by the four of us I jumped when she suddenly appeared at my side and further jibbering about her wares in manderin to us. Being the only Mando speaking person of our cohort it was amusing to hear her talk in that voice as it took longer to process what she was saying.
Proceeding on from the old woman's store we realised we were back near the Green Lake Park and could hear traditional Chinese Opera floating to us on the breeze (alien is not enough to describe the sound I am afraid!) Walking along peering into various stores and occassionally stopping to look at things a particular store took our fancy, trooping in in our line of four the shop keeper mearly looked up, saw "baise haizi" (white kids) and went back to her newspaper. She had Tibeten rugs, shoes, various styles of ethnic minority and traditional jewelery and clothes when out of the corner of our eyes a golden glitter caught our eye.
In the corner behind us, hanging knowingly on a hanger was a hand beaded, red and gold velvet vest with aged mirrors sewen into it. Gharish is not the correct term for it (although I will admit its an aquired taste). The woman was asking 180yuan for it, however through careful translation Odette and I managed to get it down to about 80yuan (or there abouts, I do not remember). Content with ourselves we went to get some drinks and look out over the lakes.
(May I say, that when travelling; do as the locals do. But when in China; observe the locals then decide wheather or not it really is worthwhile doing as the locals do. Mums holding kiddies by the waist whilst they use the nearby flower bed as a loo is NOT cool guys!)
Milkshakes on the back decking of a resturant over looking the hubub of the park was relaxing, laughing and taking lots of photos whilst the waiters (fu wu yuan) looked at us like we were psycho was quite possibly a great pit-stop of the afternoon, however the warm tapioca and coconut shakes were definatly interesting..... *gag*
Concluding the afternoon with a paddle boat ride on the lake for an hour was great, the sun, music and people yelling out "Nihao!" and "Hello!" (in hiarious english) was great, great that is until I was graced with the luck of a seagull down the leg of my pants.
Well as you can probably tell from the amazing way my writing has gone from descriptive to blah, I'm absolutely knackered so I'm off to bed now.
Be good and catch y'all laters!
(Mei Xian, my chinese name given to me by my teacher however do not recall what it means, oops)