While the city itself is cool, the area surrounding Kunming also had a lot to offer, so we spent time checking out those sights too. There were some historic Buddhist temples not far away, so we spent a few peaceful hours there.
It was all very classic, traditional Chinese, which was kind of fun. I don't get much of that in Dalian, which has been controlled by the Russians and Japanese in the past and doesn't have that "right-out-a-Zhang-Yimou-movie" quality that the South seems to have. We also did a fun hike up the Western Hills, that afforded a beautiful view of the city and some old temples. The breeze was lovely.
There were a fair amount of Chinese tourists there and traveling with Nick (tall, blonde) meant that we got more looks that I usually do alone (short, brown hair). They didn't just look, they gawked. I think I captured a particularly good moment in this photo below. This is a picture of a little girl catching her first glimpse of Nick.
We also saw the old city of Kunming, which was interesting, but far away. The bus ride was interminable and we realized our directions were wrong ("Get off at the last stop and then follow the donkey carts") when the bus let us out at some sketchy electronics expo in the middle of nowhere and totally lacking in donkey carts. Finally we made it to the historic district, which was nice but tourist-y. The next day, Kim and I went to the Stone Forest, which we both liked, but was much cooler before the hordes of visitors.
"dear friends, now you know"
I'm sort of rushing through China a bit, because I'm most excited to write about Laos and Cambodia. They were just really different, and that was great for me. Next up: Vientiane!