Our venture into the strange and exciting east Asia, started with a visit to a beautiful city called Kunming. This was all very coincidental but also fortuitous; we were meant to go to Nepal but circumstances forced our hand and a chance discussion with some newly made friends later, we were on our way to Kunming. By the by, it’s much cheaper flying into China from Kolkata to Kunming that from Delhi to Bejing…just saying.
Anyway, Kunming is popularly known as the Spring city because of the mild weather. And it certainly didn’t disappoint, with the bright sunny days we had wandering the streets and marvelling at the sidewalk sales and the interesting street food being prepared. Being vegetarians for six weeks in India did not prepare us for the wall of meat eating in China. Vegetarian in China means you only eat chicken. I was keen to try the street food, but Fin was very weary, especially after we saw what could only be worms and locusts. It’s all very beautifully displayed and you are meant to pick what you like and have it prepared before your eyes. Alas, we are not as adventurous as we think, but there’ll be another opportunity I’m sure.
The Xiantong temple in the city is a beautiful site and calm and serene in the late afternoon. But the gorgeous views from the Mingfeng hill is the stuff poetry is made of. It houses the Golden temple, actually made out of copper, the three heavenly gates, some other bronze artifacts and the bell tower. Of course this comes at the price of a 15 minute bus ride and trekking up a very steep hill, but it’s well worth getting out of breath for.
Kunming is also where we met our very first Chinese friend, Sisi. Fin was giving her English lessons while I tried to get some shut eye in the early morning hours after our flight from Kolkata. Sisi works at the hostel we were staying and is very keen to master the English language. She helped us get connected and clucked like a mama hen taking us around and pointing us in the right direction. And as per usual the hugs were long and sad when we had to leave three days later. That’s the price you pay when you become honorary parents to a lovely Chinese girl.