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Kunming

Kunming Travel Blog

 › entry 29 of 111 › view all entries

Feeling lazy we woke up around 10am, we had already set an agenda for the day and it was to do what we had not done the previous day. We would be heading in the same direction as yesterday so it should not have proved to be a difficult day, I was wrong.

We got up and dressed and headed for a park with lakes that seemed pretty interesting on the map, using bird like logic I looked at the map on the wall in the hostel lobby, and looked at the city and headed in a straight line fashion. After believing we were on track for about thirty minutes we suddenly found ourselves very lost. Not having any real clue where we were or how to ask we debated getting a map, now most usually there are old people slapping maps in your face every ten minutes, not today though, so we had to look around to see what kind of place would sell them.

There are a lot of small kiosk stands that sell magazines and so on, after walking past many of them we finally decided on getting one. Unfortunately the map we purchased was not English and reading Chinese characters might seem as simple as ‘look for the similarities’ but I assure you it is not. Even when asking the kiosk guy where we were currently he could not work it out, this was most likely due to his poor vision. In cases like these we resort to ”Fab’s Travel Tips”.

Lost with an unreadable map?
       Walk around in vague circles till you find a distinctive looking landmark, such as a park or pagoda, and then attempt to find a similar shape on the map.

Rather fortunately we walked into one of the main squares spotting a rather old and lovely looking archway, as we walked further down we past the famous blind masseurs spot where locals often come to be massaged by the blind.

A little further down we came across two pagodas facing each other, this would be our landmark, and sure enough it was on the map. We had a location, a new direction and a second wind in our sails. Turning 180 degrees we set off in the right direction. We found our way up to the park, although we had no idea where we were on the map again. We had, for some reason, taken a right but if we had continued on straight we would have been perfectly fine. We did find a small ginger kitten on the way for amusement and took some photos. Anyway, we finally arrived.

The park was a wobbly circular shape with lots of small lakes making up paths throughout the park. It was obvious this park was where musicians and bands come to practice, and as is common with China lots of people gather to dance, I think this is an exercise thing as it tends to be middle aged people and upwards.

Usually there are something like 15-50 of them all doing the same routine, though I did feel kind of embarrassed for them it is done all throughout China. There were many of the dancing troupes and musicians through out the park. After we had finished exploring we set off for back home, not an easy feat.

Once again, we were lost, having taken some interesting side routes we ended up without a clue. As my father once said, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” (this was while we were installing the carpet in my room and guessing length to cut). We had discovered an old courtyard with lots of old people playing Chinese chess, which is also incredibly common. The trees and flowers were all overgrown but that added to the rustic beauty of the place, feeling like we had sort of imposed on a secret garden we snapped some photos and were on our way.

I cannot confidently say where we were on our way to though.  We actually managed to find the pagodas we had found earlier and we had our location again, though it occurred to us we had no idea where the hostel was, we figured if we had a general idea we would recognise the surroundings once we arrived. Once again we discovered an almost archaic part of the city, a few streets that looked like they had been left out of the cities plans of development. Having old run down buildings and very old markets running along something I guess you could call a road. At the bottom we found a very good market selling lots of good Chinese memorabilia. After we exited the market we remembered how lost we were and continued to try and find our way.

We eventually discovered a bike store we remembered from our taxi journey to the hostel and our hopes were up, we had a choice of four directions. One we had come from so that was three, one we knew the taxi went up so now there was two. A one in two chance and we still got it wrong. We walked around a huge block only to end up a few hours later exactly where we had made the choice of street. Now with only one option left we headed down that street, after a little while we decided to stop and ask a guard where we were on our map. The absolute git pointed above the park lake we had been to earlier, me being skeptical about his IQ level decided to ignore his guidance and continued along the road which did eventually lead straight to our Hostel.

With much relief we settled down ordered dinner, showered and then just crashed exhausted from all the excess walking.

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photo by: eefab