Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Tale Of Two Cities

Pictorials once again: This time Kunming, C to da H to da I to da NA!

The two cities referred to in the title of this blog relates to my experience of Kunming and Ruth's experience of Kunming as will be explained.

Arriving in Kunming, we immediately hooked up with my old friend Tim. We went for a walk in the park where we snapped happy photos in the traditional pose of China. While its been nice to meet people on our travels, there's nothing like a genuine, old skool friend from home to lift your spirits.

Unfortunately, those spirits got immediately struck down by the flu and I spent a lot of time in our hotel room watching TV. Happily, China is the king of the chinese take-away even providing "burger in a bucket" with the chips and tomato sauce conveniently poured over the top.

Its a little known fact that for most of SE Asia, even in the cheapest, skankiest rooms, we've been subject to pay tv featuring crappy western movies and I've seen more shit movies in the last three months than the last six years of my life. In China, no such luck and I was left with "Fashion TV." It was an endless parade of bad fashion, bad people and bad music as they pranced down the catwalk. The tag line is a sultry whisper "I saw it first... on fashion tv" which I soon changed to "I see dead people... on fashion tv." This is Tim and I discussing our next fashion moves.

For Ruth, who wasn't struck down by the flu, spent her time wandering the streets of Kunming, shopping and reading in her favourite coffee shop Salvador's (she went there every day) while I languished in agony in the hotel room. So yeah, her experience of Kunming was hanging out and being cool. Two cities indeed.

When I dragged my sorry arse out of bed, we went to check out a temple and tried our best Fashion TV poses.

The temple was a tranquil place with a central pond filled with turtles. Well, we thought it was tranquil until we realised it was actually a turtle orgy out there and all those cute animals were going at it big time which somehow shattered the illusion of peace.

No disney cartoon animals allowed in the Kunming Zoo as even two diemensional characters would be horrified by what goes on inside. On a stupid whim we thought we'd check out the zoo to see some pandas, a steal at $2. Kunming zoo: where you can see the wild zebra run free in the 2m x 2m pens! It was a tragedy beyond all comprehension. All the animals were in small cages with no vegetation and looked bored or pissed off. Seriously, this lion seemed to be saying "when I get out I'm going to eat everyone of you fuckers." They even gave out blow up baseball bats to visiting school kids to terrorise the animals. We never did find the pandas which was probably a good thing. If you want a flag to rally around, try the immediate improvement of Chinese zoos.

We then retreated from the zoo life horrors to the place we loved the best. Salvadors became almost a fall back position after a hard day. After almost getting us lost (because I always know where I am), Tim and Ruth perfected their inner-city cool while lounging about.

We also went to the museum which is the polar opposite of the zoo, brilliant in every way. There is a particular fascination with this ancient table which they replicated as a large statue out the front which I dubbed "tiger biting ox's ass" as that's what it is. One unfortunate moment was when I couldn't find a sculpture in the museum which was on the brochure. We asked a guide (who couldn't find it) but he was so impressed in our interest in the museum he gave us an indepth tour conducted in chinese for an hour. Tim could only understand bits of it while I just nodded and smiled not comprehending a word of it (stupid tourist). To be honest, I only wanted to see the piece because it looked like a Dio album cover.

After all this, Tim still managed to take us out drinking which is by no way reflected in this photo. So this blog entry is dedicated to Tim, who talked the talk, walked the walk and even had me out drinking and dancing 'til 1am when I was sick as a dog. Kunming was a special time for the fun we all had. And he helped us shop for stuff we needed...

The cost of a goose down coat for Ruth: 442 yuan. The photo of Tim trying it on to the horror of the shop attendant: Priceless. (Seriously, best photo of the trip).

Lijiang tomorrow. Laters.

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