Our final stop in China – Kunming ‘The Spring City’. Unfortunately not so spring when we were here – the snow and cold temperatures returned! We couldn’t believe it! Out came the hats/gloves/thermals again.
Our first day we walked through Green Lake Park, which for you Andover readers is like Charlton Lakes. Expect for one thing…..hundreds of red billed seagulls!
The best thing, the Chinese were going crazy over them! There were bread vendors selling bread for those who wanted to feed them, professional photographers offering to take you picture amoungst them for a fee, people stood there with a peice of bread in their hand with their arm outstreched waiting for a gull to land on them, and people on pedlows trying to coax the gulls in. Completely crazy for them! So, if you’re a panda or a red billed seagull you are safe here!
We also stopped by to Yuantong temple, which was very colourful, and animal friendly! In the water surrounding the main temple there were many frogs, terrapins and turtles of all sizes….we like to think these were animals rescued by the good monks from the neighbouring market!
Our second day was when the snow hit and the temperatures dropped – cinema day! Why not?! The Martian with Matt Damon was showing in English, and it was very good. During the film in soon became obvious why China is showing this film…in the film China helps NASA with some equipment to aid a rescue mission – they save the day how wonderfull!!! Critical we know but this is what they’re like!
On day 3 the snow had stopped but it was still bitter outside, so we visited the Western Hills on the outskirts of the city – a mountain hike through the forest. Many scenic spots with plenty of temples. The main attraction is Dragon Gate which is at the top of the trail – a combination of caves and grottos carved into Luohan Hill. This culminates in Dragon gate overlooking Dianchi Lake, at over 300 metres high.
Walking back down we heard someone running behind us – it was a Chinese lady who wanted a picture of both of us! When she had her picture with me (Gem) she grabbed my head and pulled me in…thought she was going to kiss me! Bit over-friendly – so British!!
The day itself was good, the transportation to and from was frustrating! In typical Chinese fashion our directions in how to get there were vague at best, so we ended up getting on the wrong bus to start with. We spent an hour rectifying our mistake.
Going back we found our bus stop, just to end up standing there for an hour as our bus never turned up! We asked people passing by who said we were in the right place, but no bloody bus! We ended up getting on another bus to take us to another stop, where we waited another 30 minutes until our bus finally decided to show up.
We had had enough of buses after that!
Our final day, we visited the local market. It’s always interesting to wonder through the stalls and see the vast array of produce on sale. Lots of meat here – even cow tails, sheep heads and the best spot – a rather large pair of testicles!!!
Lots of chickens/ducks/pigeons, and many crabs/fish/shrimp/turtles. On one fish stool the guys was chopping up large fish and the heads were still moving – eyes rolling and giles moving. Pretty disturbing! We saw a turtle get hauled out by it’s neck and have it’s head chopped off on the floor. We also witnessed ducks being grabbed by the neck, throat slit, and within minutes the whole bird is skinned and sold.
Now, we understand many of these animals being used for food (not the turtles and tortoises as they’re not the most common animal out there) but what we primarily disagree with is the fact the alive animals can hear/see/smell what is going on – they will smell the blood, hear the noise and see thier buddy be killed in front of them. This is what we feel is the main issue here. Also, some of the animals they’re eating seem pointless – the crabs are so small where is the nutritous value in them? Why not harvest a larger crab and make it more worth while? We will never know.
We leave for (hopefully) warmer climates tomorrow – our first stop in Vietnam is Sapa. Come on sunshine!!!!
We thought it would be good to write a brief conclusion for each country we visit, so here it goes!
China was an amazing place both historically and culturally. We really loved the great wall, terrcotta army and (we know it’s not actually China) but we loved Hong Kong, with the contrast of bustling city and island countryside. The food has been great, sometimes a subtle spicey – sometimes blow your head off!
The majority of people have been helpful and friendly.
But….and there’s always a but…some of the cultural traditions have been strange and difficult to get used to. Examples being the spitting, which is usually the older generation – and they do this everywhere all the time. On a bus/walking down the street/whilst on the toilet (you know this because whilst you’re having a wee you can see spit around you. Another weird thing (i’m more offended about this than Paul who thinks it’s hilarious) is the fact that some toddlers have slits in their trousers by their bottoms, so the parents can let them go to the toilet wherever takes their fancy – yes mumber 1’s and 2’s! So even if they’re not squating on the street going to the loo, you see their bum on show. This is just so wrong on many levels right?!?!
The Chinese also do not know how to queue! Now we know this sounds so British, and no-one likes to queue, but there is a reason for it! The Chinese literally push/force their way through – you have to shove your way through on a bus otherwise you will miss your stop. Nobody moves for you. On the metro nobody allows the people off the train, they just ram their way through.
We think the biggest eye opener was the rate of which China is developing. Towns are turning into cities and cities into metropolises. Unfortunately this seems to have had a negative effect on cultural sights and the countryside with high entrance fees for sights of natural beauty and macdonalds next to the great wall!!!!
We would come back but we would definately like to visit some more rural areas and get off the beaten track!