Monday, June 1, 2009

Yunnan Province - Elaine & Emily Guest Blog #3

Wow… Sorry, we are not dead, just did not have internet access for the last three days since arriving in the Yunnan Province. It’s been amazing so far; this post will have lots of pictures so you can see where we’ve been.

On Wednesday, while still in Xiamen, we pampered ourselves again. The day started out with a Chinese hair wash, had a fabulous Chinese spicy lunch at The Two Sisters, then went for yet another “deluxe” foot massage at the Millennium. After our foot massages, we wound our way through the Bashi market alleys on our way back to Mark and Tina’s.

At around 7pm we caught a flight to Kunming, met up with our tour guide (named Wine), and drove an hour and a half to our hotel in the Stone Forrest. We collapsed upon arrival at the hotel since it around 12 midnight.

On Thursday we were up at 6am, had a traditional Chinese breakfast of rice noodles, spicy pork with green onions with sweet creamy coffee. The food was delicious, the coffee, not so much…

The best part of the morning was touring the stone forest. Wine told us that the entire park had been under water 40 million years ago. We had a bet going about how many laowais (westerners) we would see; Elaine was winning since she bet zero, and then we all lost horribly when we saw a busload of western students.
We hit the road around 1pm driving through farm country. We stopped in a little town for lunch. We sat outside with the women making pork dumplings and pumpkin biscuits. The food was phenomenal; we were the first laowais they had ever served so we felt pretty special and that we were getting an authentic experience.Then it was back on the road for another four hours. We made it to Jian Shui by late afternoon and toured the second largest Confucius temple in China, over 800 years old and 75,000 square meters – “a little bigger than our apartment,” according to Mark. We checked into our hotel, an ancient family compound with several outdoor courtyards. We got a sense for old China and enjoyed sipping wine in the courtyard after dinner.
In the morning, had a quick breakfast (coffee was much better), and hit the road. We went to Double Dragon Bridge, a stone bridge built in 1860. Emily almost walked off a ledge while taking pictures and backing up to get the best shot. What was most appealing was the farm country surrounding the bridge, with farmers working the rice, lotus flower and corn fields; and trucks loaded with stones driving through the river, which they said was also road.
We then headed to a 600 year old village built by the Zhang Chun Family. The family got wealthy off of Tin mining and built a compound for themselves and the whole village. Their wealth had clearly declined judging by the condition of the buildings. There were still people living there, seventy percent which belong to the Zhang Chun family. What was interesting about the village was that it was not “tourist clean” so we were able to get a real sense for how the people there live.We then drove on toward Xin Jie Lao-Cheng. Our favorite part of the drive was toward the end when we started to see the rice fields with men and water buffalo and women planting rice in their traditional dress. We stopped at Laohuzui Terrace (the tiger) rice fields along the way. The scenery was worth the long drive.
We drove uphill for what seemed like hours to our hotel in the clouds, Yun Ti Hotel. We went to dinner and then walked around the town square getting lots of “laowais” cries from the locals. The population here is mostly considered Chinese minority, we believe the “Yi” minority… Petite, dark with beautiful faces and smiles. The traditional wear is evident in the photos.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Wow! What gorgeous photos. Your trip sounds like an adventure right out of National Geographic. I've enjoyed seeing China through your eyes.

Sharon Karpiel