Hongkong - Yunnan - Hainan - Canton
October - November 1988
Part II - Kunming, Dali

If you want to skip directly to the next and last part, then just hit
Part III - Nanning, Hainan, Canton


The flight from Guilin to Kunming was smooth and the service was good (with small presents). Kunming is the provincial capital of Yunnan. This city was much better than Guilin. We stayed in the dormitory of the hotel Camelia, with the girls and boys all mixed up in one room, but cheap for 2 USD. Same price for a dinner with soup, rice, pork filet, tee and wine.

Remark: The photos on the right side may not be correctly adjusted if you use Mozilla Firefox or Chrome. I propose to use the Explorer of Microsoft instead.

Click the small picture to get it enlarged

In a street of Kunming a market stall sells all kinds of plastics Also, in a street of Kunming you can get help from chiro-practics
Old people are playing Majong What is she shouting in the megaphone?
From Kunming we made a trip to Shilin up north, a town next to the famous Stone Forest. The trip could have been done in one day, but after we arrived by bus for 1 USD we checked into the Stone Forest Guest House for 6 USD. We asked for direction to the stone forest. But somehow we missed the entrance and were walking along a fence until we found a hole to sneak in. And what we saw was fantastic. Let the pictures speak for themselves.
Isn't that an impressive sight? Looks like a stone forest, right?
Who has put that rock up high so geniously? Who shaped this with a kind of obscenity?
The rocks consist of limestone again, which have been created in a similar way as the hills around Guilin. But here the formations looked more bizarre and ...
Who has put the tits up here? Who has erected that phallus there?
If you feel to pee now in the lake then better use the toilet with a nice shape
Another lake within a nice landscape And more comfort rooms at the entrance
Chinese costumes in the style of Tao? I rather walk around in the style of Mao
Is it Yin in red? and Yang in black?
When we went through the entrance, but from the other side, nobody asked for our tickets. The 2 US Dollars saved was spent in a restaurant just around the corner for a whole duck meal with rice, veggies, eggs and two beers (ok, paid the equivalent with our black market yuan).

I also remember that I ate like a Chinese for the first time: with hands and sticks while throwing the bones and leftovers on the floor. Though I could not bring myself to spit onto the floor, too, like all the other Chinese guests do (but usually in a pot standing beside the table). No problem here. There was a fulltime sweeper cleaning the floor all the time while we were eating.
Also most fabrics like bips are in red and black beside some scarfs and the aprons on the rack
Though this was a nice place to visit, we were the only foreigners around. Also the souvenirs were probably more for the Chinese, who may need all the bips and aprons because of the way they eat.

Here you also could already see many indigenous people. The more you get into the countryside away from the cities the more you see them in their traditional costume. And they are not Chinese. All of Yunnan was once part of a Thai kingdom until it was "incorporated" into China by the Mongols in the thirteenth century. Now they belong to the twenty-five percent ethnic minority groups, including Tibetans.
But the colors of the tribe is in a different style
Where to go next after getting back to Kunming. Actually we wanted to go to a place close to the Vietnamese border, but the next bus was "scheduled" in three days, so we took the bus to Dali instead. Or busses, because Manfred wanted to leave with the night bus right away but I wanted to sleep in a real bed and then watch the countryside during the next day's bus ride, so I tried a better hotel and location this time, the Golden Peacock Hotel at a nice lake, for 2.60 USD.

Dali was around 300km to the north-west close to the Burmese border. It was mountainous and the roads were rough. So it was a bumpy ride for 6.20 USD. Thanks God I didn't go through the night. It also was providence that we didn't go down south (more later on).
Finally we arrived at the gate of Dali This is the other side of the gate of Dali
Dali was once an independent kingdom in the twelve century with its capital Dali. The gate was the first thing I saw and was impressed. Next thing was to find Manfred. We wanted to meet at a guesthouse listed in the guidebook, but I met him already in the street. That guesthouse was called "No 2" in a multi story concrete building and the single room for 2.70 USD was actually not very inviting. But the restaurant we went was very inviting, so was the folklore show the same evening.
Here we drank tea and took some rest While the folklore girls gave their best
With stick swirling and dancing
Next day was countryside sight-seeing by bike (30 cents rent all day). And it was a beautiful countryside with neat stone houses everywhere. It almost could have been in Switzerland. And the locals around were all very kind. Let the following pictures speak for themselves. Before the big bang end comes.
And this is the countryside I would like to take a look inside
The peasants around were all smiling and were not any missing tooth hiding
A man is working hard in the fields The women rather sells what he yields
Sorry, it really wasn't meant that way Women had to work as hard as they
Especially the hard work in a village which bores with all the missing comfort for the daily chores
But the surrounding countryside is beautiful and idyllic Even the old temples will give them the right spirit
This temple looks like the people have lost their belief But inside it shows these nice colorful statues to my relief
A priest with a sermon on the other side the demon
A wise man and a warrior to fear Boys with an inscription in the rear
This is not a temple but a toilet establish-ment painted with pictures and nice ornaments
Yes, the toilet establishments are the bathrooms or comfort rooms, but not very comfortable as you may guess from the nice look outside. There were no single cabins with doors but all open to the front.
These towers didn't tumble during the earthquake rumble
It happened in the evening. We, Manfred and I, were sitting together with a couple at a table in a restaurant in Dali. All of sudden, I did get very dizzy and I thought I am going to faint or get a heart attack. I looked at the others. It seemed that they had the same feeling. I asked them if they feel strange. The answer was yes. I never experienced anything like that before and I felt sure this must be it, and I shouted: Earthquake.

We all ran onto the street and waited for the rumble and any crumble. But nothing moved, nothing fell apart. But we had been moved and are still moving, but you couldn't see that you were moving, because everything moved with it, and so smooth that nothing was even shaking.

Back to the guesthouse. Many people had settled with their beds outdoor. We didn't and we still had a good night's sleep. My thought was, if it didn't all crash in the first place then it would not do it during an after-quake.

Only after a couple of days, we found out that the epicenter was around 400km south-east of Dali, where we actually wanted to go. It was good luck that the bus didn't go, otherwise we might have been two of the 730 people claimed already dead, according to a newspaper in English, but of course censored by the Chinese government. Further on it was mentioned that 5 million people were affected and that 700,000 houses, 1,300 schools and 980 hospitals collapsed. There were probably many more people who died, if you compare it with the earthquake of 2008 with thousands of dead school children alone.

The tremble at the epicenter must have caused a sliding movement of a continental plate on which we were sitting in the restaurant in Dali. And everything around us must also have been shifted by several meters (my guess), including the huge lake close to Dali.
Also the large lake didn't splash and the famous gate didn't crash
Next day was another adventure, but this time it was anticipated: A trip to a famous market, where all the indigenous people come together to sell and buy, and to exchange news and gossips, etc., etc. Let again the pictures speak for themselves.
New arrival at the market place All ready? Who will win the race?
I don't remember what the girls saw Sorry, I will not buy your last straw
It gets crowded, mostly women but where are all the men?
Some men deal in horses Others may steal horses
Yes, also crooks seemed to look for opportunities to steal (like anywhere else where a gathering like this takes place). I actually didn't find out what the guy, who covered his face, wanted to steal, but more and more bystanders probably didn't know that either but were chasing and hitting the guy through the market, always followed by the old man with the knife in his hand.
These two men just look bored at what the women bought
Women are also good sales ladies selling all kinds of specialities
Putting the apples today on sale and a chunk of meat on the scale
How many kilos does it measure I couldn't find out this kind of treasure
Selling pigs, all the same, is also women's domain
Women look nice in what they wear while they are selling colorful knit wear
Every woman from another tribe, I guess coming in a different traditional dress
Young woman Old woman
This old woman has to sit young girls in modern outfit
Roasted crickets are really luscious But this looks more delicious
After coming back from this interesting but strenuous excursion we needed a good massage. Who was the best masseur in town? A blind guy named Bao. Never had a good massage again like that after that. And that for only 2 USD for one hour. Relaxed we could get on a rough bus ride again back to Kunming where we stayed in the dormitory of Camelia again for one night (Manfred liked to sleep with he girls). Next day we flew to Nanning for 40 USD on the way south and getting closer and closer to my tropical island paradise.

Ok, that was Yunnan, one of the most interesting provinces of China, whether landscapes or people.

If you want to skip now to the next and last part, then just hit
Part III - Nanning, Hainan, Canton

© WEW Tours