Wednesday, February 2, 2011

September 6 Kunming

Double Gates of Kunming.

Today was a free day. Bill negotiated an extra hour in the checkout
time. So after breakfast, we walked around a bit. We went to the twin gates,
and then along the market street running north from there. Kunming is a
very pleasant city, and the six thousand foot altitude mitigates the Southeast
Asian climate quite a lot. We got back, showered one last time before the
train, and checked out of the hotel. We said good-bye to Alaine, and then
went out for a walk while she and Bill conducted turnover on administrative
matters. We walked a ways east of the hotel, and then went north one block
through a traditional market street. Penny finally found a small electronic
calculator to replace the one we lost several weeks ago. We came out of the
market street and then headed back to the west. We found a large, local
restaurant. More than twenty tables, but with no windows and completely
open to the street. The tables were low to the ground, and the seats were
wicker stools with cloth covers. I got out my Barron’s Mandarin phrase
book and we managed to order chicken, pork, mixed vegetables, and beer.
The dishes came kung pao style. Very spicy, and very good! We headed
out again.
View of Kunming from our hotel window.

This huge jade boat was in our hotel lobby.

Alaine had left for the airport by the time we got back to the hotel
lobby. What a small world! A man in the lobby was wearing a University
of Oregon ball cap. Penny went to chat about the University of Oregon vs.
Oregon State University “Civil War” football game. He turned out to have
played on the golf team at the same high school as did Jeff Blum, Penny’s
younger brother. We were promptly collected as advertised by Gail and the
driver, and we left for the Kunming train station.

The berth on the K394 to Guilin (Kweilin) was nice, and there seemed
to be a little more space to maneuver the suitcases around. We got lucky
again because there was no fourth person in the room. In fact, most of the
soft-berth cabins were empty, which makes me wonder all the more about
why we could not get a two-person supplement in China.

We met up with two Americans from Utah, and also an Israel-born
American. We went to the restaurant car for a good time spent talking and
drinking beer. Bill and I drank the beer, that is to say. Not so the Utahans.

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