18:24 to Kunming
Kunming Travel Blog› entry 9 of 95 › view all entries
After leaving Shanghai, I popped over to Kunming in Southwest China on a 38 hour train. Straight. Luckily I found a savior and companion in Fanny, a college Chinese girl who spoke English. Through her I was able to answer lots of questions from the older men on board such as 1) Where was my boyfriend/husband?, 2) Why am I here?, and 3) How could my parents let me travel around and not study/work? Fun times. But actually despite the long trip it wasn't so bad. I don't want to fly anywhere so I can travel like the locals and also see some scenery since I can't stop everywhere. China is a big country afterall. I enjoyed watching the older men drinking Bijou (reference Beijing) at 10:30am saying "it's almost lunch" haha.
In Kunming I finally hit some warm weather, yay! There isn't a whole lot to do there, but there was a nice little Buddhist temple and a great park that I spent a lot of time in. One night I met a New Zealand girl traveling alone, Julie, and the next day we went to Stone Forest which is an amazing park filled with these huge rocks coming out of the ground. We had a heck of a time getting there, including two taxi's which told us 'no' when we asked them to take us somewhere, and 3 buses for a grand total of 4 hours. But that's part of traveling I suppose and it was definitely worth it. We even met a few other Westerners on the way, two of which I saw again in Lijiang.
I took an overnight bus to Lijiang and while it was really cool to see the stars and outlines of the mountains while lying down and moving, it ws not very comfortable. We apparently got there 3 hours early but the driver didn't tell anyone and so I woke up in a parking lot with half the bus gone and the driver in the bed next to me. Thank goodness for the Dutch guy on board for letting me know we were there! I then had a ton of trouble getting someone to tell the hostel person where I was so they could pick me up. I actually started tearing up as person after person ignored me asking for help. Trip low point. I was much better once I got to Mama Naxi's hostel. I immediately got chatted up by John, the English guy working there, for about an hour but after awhile was able to get a room and walk around the cool Old Town filled with shops and restaurants.
Kristen (Australian), Marion (Chilean), and Jen and Paul (British) and I hiked up Tiger Leaping Gorge for an absolutely horrible 4 hours uphill. There was a guy on a donkey following us to see if we would get tired and pay to take us, but after about 2 hours he realized we would rather torture ourselves and left.
After Lijiang I headed down to Dali to visit Fanny.
Now I'm back in Kunming for a day. Today I'm going to try and get an overnight bus to Vietnam, thus ending my time in China!