nuts to the shift key, the keyboard in this guesthouse doesn't like me.
i met mollybzz
before noon in Kowloon five days after the full moon. Swoon, I'm in china! we wandered around hong kong, eating tasty morsels like curry beef donut, Macanese dishes, and fresh fruits from roadside stands (supervised by cats).
i hear there's a big blizzard all over china. we discovered the impact of this when we arrived at the shenzhen and then guangzhou train stations. thousands of chinese waiting patiently for canceled trains. fortunately for affluent tourists like us, China southern airways has a ticket office open 24 hours a day a few blocks from the southeast corner of the trainstation in guangzhou. 850 yuan and a night's sleep later and we were on a plane to kunming, capital of yunan province.
kunming lacked the chaos, cold rain, and general getmeoutahere feeling of canton. instead, it had a colorful market selling sweets and crucified ducks, across-the-bridge noodles, and pleasant busrides through streets towering with sky scrapers and trendy shops. we climbed Xi Shan to the south of town, purchasing boiled eggs and radishes held like ice cream cones sold by peasants with cute kids along the side of the trail. We had dinner full of delectible vegetable morsels we didn't recognize in a restaurant the size of a garage, tucked away on the hill. We then paid too much for taxi rides on the principle that they knew where this Dragon Gate was. Carved into the hillside are caves housing statues of Taoist deities. we then walked down through the miniature stone forest.
i've been fighting a cold the last two days, but that didn't stop me from wandering through old Dali today. It's the right mix of "preserve the quaint" and authentic locals selling wares. we bought chops (stones to stamp one's chinese characters with), countless tasty morsels for two kuai (about 25 cents, I think), and a few items not too heavy to cary for the next several weeks. The highlight of the day, though, was bicycling through rice paddies to Erhai Hu, a lovely lake surrounded by peasant hamlets. It would be easy to visit China and think it's full of cities and cars and shops like the western world we're used to, but a trip past women bent at the waist in the fields, through winding streets wide enough for a minibus to pass a scooter, and around corners where little kids shout "hello," turn and run, and then cutely throw rocks at the tall hairy white people shows a side of china that's got more of a foot in its own past than what it's got in the modern world.
Tomorrow we take a bus to Lijiang, which will probably be rather nippy, but hopefully not as snowed in as the center of the country. If Tiger Leaping Gorge isn't snowed in, we'll hike that soon.
happy new year, and may the rat bring you luck!