19 Nov - 23 Nov 2012 Kunming

East Asia
People’s Republic of China aka Red China
Yunnan Province
Kunming Cuihu Nanlu
Huanggong Dongjie
Yiqiutian No. 7
New and clean twin room with shared bathroom for CNY 120.- or US$ 19.30 per night. Wifi only in the restaurant, not in the room. Indifferent but reasonably friendly staff.
Beer: 600-ml bottles of cold Tsingtao Beer (4.0 % alc./vol.) for a stiff CNY 15.- or US$ 2.40 from the guesthouse’s overpriced restaurant. Alternative: 580-ml bottles of cold Harbin Beer (3.3. % alc./vol.) for a fair CNY 4.- or US$ 0.65 from any of the small mom-and-pop stores round the corner.

Click below for an interactive satellite view of the Lost Garden Guest House in Kunming, which we would recommend, and for directions:
Note the random 0 - 500 m misalignment between Google’s maps and satellite views of the motherland, courtesy of the paranoid Chinese Communist Party.

Exploring Kunming’s modern and vibrant city centre with its few remaining genuine historic sights (one Confucius Temple, two Tang-Dynasty Pagodas and three old shop houses at the Flower & Bird Market), reminiscing about the foregone days, more than ten years ago, when our inquisitive number-one-daughter Ulrike studied here at the Kunming University for Science and Technology aka Ligong Daxue, and feeling almost physically how Red China’s present-day uberpolitical air, thickened by top-down patriotism and artificial nationalism, refuses to enter our libertarian lungs.

Strolling around the greened, well-maintained streets and squares in our rather posh neighbourhood near Kunming’s 17th-century CE Green Lake Park aka Cui Hu Park and busying ourselves (i) watching performances of pieces from Chinese operas, (ii) listening to folk music and (iii) celebrating together with thousands of local people the visa-free annual return of the city’s mascots, the Siberian red-beaked sea gulls (Larus ridibundus).

Joining the many friendly Buddhist pilgrims and applauding the architectural harmonies of the 14th-century CE Yuantong Temple (admission: CNY 6.- per person), situated on the southern slope of Yuantong Hill and the largest Buddhist temple in Kunming.

Catching Kunming’s city bus no. 2 (CNY 1.- per person) to Kunming’s well-organised railway station, taking the a/c (overnight) fast train no. K672 (638 km, 11 ¼ hours, CNY 162.- or US$ 26.- per person for comfy “hard sleeper/lower berths”) from sunny Kunming, the “City of Eternal Spring”, to rainy Guiyang, the capital city of Red China’s poorest province, and thereafter Guiyang’s city bus no 1 (CNY 1.- per person) straight to our lively backpacker hostel in downtown.

Click below for more blog posts about birdwatching, one way or the other

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

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