Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.
|Saturday, June 09, 2012 02:04:14|
CHINA 2012: 5 - Jingdezhen to Kunming
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
It was a rainy morning. The porcelain museum and tour of a site making porcelain in the traditional way were on the agenda, something I've little interest in, so Marilynn went while I stayed behind to get an update sent and catch up on other administrative items. Marilynn enjoyed the morning, but was wet and sore as there was a lot of walking in the rain at the porcelain making site. The City of Jingdezhen, population about 500,000, is dedicated to porcelain. There are porcelain statues, porcelain poles for street lights, porcelain store fronts, etc. After lunch we walked around an entire shopping mall where all shops sell only porcelain, but the only one to buy anything was out guide. Hard to imagine how they make a living selling basically the same thing out of about 40 shops. Our flight to Shanghai was not until 9:30 PM, but as there was little else to do we told Liamg to take us to the airport at 3:00 PM, as they have a 3 or 4 hour drive back to Huangshan. That didn't work as the airport was locked up. To pass the time we went back to last night's hotel where I tested local beers I hadn't tried and we chatted until the airport opened 6. Once Liamg was satisfied everything was organized and we had a comfortable place to sit in a small convenience store that sold beer (the seats in the waiting area were all full) we said goodbye and they headed home. The fight was on time and comfortable. At the Shanghai airport the line for official taxis was long, but we turned down offers from unofficial taxis of 150 to 200 Yuan to skip the line. Apparently we didn't do too badly at 100 Yuan the last time! The official fare on the meter was 42 Yuan, yet returning the next morning was only 22 Yuan. We haven't quite figured out why yet!
Thursday, June 7, 2012
A taxi picked us up at 5 AM for our 7:35 AM flight to Kunming. The 3h 10 min flight left 10 min early and the time passed quickly. In China there is no business class, which I usually fly due to my long legs, only first class. First class isn't like in Canada & the US - here is really is first class with great waiting lounges with full buffet meals, drinks, wifi and people who come with information when it is time to board the flight. Some airlines have deluxe buses for first class so there is no waiting to board. There is always great in flight service, with food and drinks on the shortest flight. Slippers are provided on all flights. We were met in Kunming by Daisy, who got her name from a British English teacher. Kunming has a population of 6 million, but little manufacturing - it is largely an agricultural centre, so there is little air pollution. It is known for jade and Chinese medicine. Yunnan province borders on Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar (Burma) so has many distinct ethnic groups, who have kept their individual cultures alive. Daisy was telling us of some of the customs, which are still in use today. It is easy to tell the marital status of women of the Yi people. They wear very distinctive hats, and if there is a triangle hanging down each side, she is unattached. If she has a boyfriend she gives him one triangle, so a girl with one triangle has a boyfriend. If she marries, she places the remaining triangle on the back of her hat. When she takes a boyfriend there is a 3 year test in which the boy lives in the parents' house and works for them free to prove he isn't lazy. Once married he does little, as the girl then does the work. Another group whose name I could not pronounce have a matriarchal agricultural society. At the age of 13 a girl is given a house in the family compound. She then takes one lover at a time. If she gets pregnant, then they marry, if not, she tries different lovers until a child is conceived. We drove to the stone forest from the airport, a world heritage site. This is a large area of enormous limestone pillars that were formed as the ocean receded. We first circled the area by electric cart, then walked through the maze of tall pillars Once checked into the Park Hotel, Daisy pointed out a bar/restaurant across the street that turned out to be a great find. It was four stories high with outside eating areas on the top 3 floors, and a fabulous menu of dishes from a dozen countries plus several pages of Chinese dishes. We had a great meal. Kunming is a pleasant city with tree lines streets and many treed parks. We could have happily spent another day here wandering the streets. In the evening Daisy and the driver took us to a theatre about six blocks from the hotel to see a performance called Dynamic Yunnan. It had 6 acts of drumming, singing and dancing that illustrated the creation of the earth according to the legends of some ethnic groups. It was done in the spectacular manner that we have come to expect from Chinese productions, huge use of colour and effects. Most of the players were young people - teens down to one little star of about 4 or 5 years old who sang and danced solo in a couple of acts. We walked back to the hotel through streets filled with music and in one area dancing around an open fire pit. In the morning we fly to Dali.