Yunnan, a few days away from busy life
Shenzhen Travel Blog› entry 1 of 6 › view all entries
Confidence sometimes brings about the best experiences.
My friend's cousin from Shenzhen had booked our flight Shenzhen-Kunming for us and booked a hotel in Kunming for the first night of our short trip. He had found something "really affordable" for us, he said, and he had also arranged for someone to pick us up at Kunming airport.
On the flight we happened to get in a conversation with the young lady sitting next to us. It turned out that she was working for a local travel agency in Kunming. She suggested us that Lijiang, further west in Yunnan, might be an idea for us. There were two ways to get there, an 8 hours bus drive, or a short flight.
After we landed at Kunming airport by 9:00 pm we had a further talk with her and her boss, who had come to pick her up.
We found the driver who was there to pick us up, and we drove into the night. The roads were enormously wide, but very poorly lit, and there were a few unlit vehicles, like horse driven charriots, hand cars and bicycles. We doubted seriously if our driver used his headlights or that it was just his unconventional driving style, but anyway, it happened a few times that only at the very last second an accident was avoided.
We arrived at a building in a totally quiet but very broad street, which was supposedly our hotel. The hotel looked closed and very dark at first, but then the tubelights in the hall went on and someone opened the door. When we walked into the lobby I noticed a large couch along the wall. Behind it there was an oversized no smoking sign. On the couch a red army soldier was sitting and smiling at us... and smoking.
We asked the driver to wait for us, because we had not had dinner yet and wanted to go to a typical Kunming rice noodles place downtown if that was possible.We quickly dropped our baggage, got into the car and drove off.
After 10 minutes we stopped at a corner of a few large avenues. In the top of a high light pole on the crossing, an engineer was sitting and working. On the ground there was another engineer, yelling instructions to him.
The next thing that happened was a loud noise of electric sparks, a loud yell, and total black darkness. Outside in the street, as well as inside in the restaurant. Everyone except us acted as if this was happening every day. Torches and candles lit up in the restaurant, the people continued eating as if nothing happened.
I was still wondering if the poor engineer might have fallen down from the pole, electrocuted and grilled or not.
But our driver had already walked into the restaurant and started ordering a selection of noodles and things that come with it: some meats and veggies. The typical local noodle dish came in the form of huge steaming hot bowls with a broth in which the noodles. It is intended to actually put the veggies and meat in there. The noodles were thick and tasted fantastic together with the things we put into it. It was a warm and solid meal, something that we needed.
The driver got us back to the hotel, and the military man on the couch under the no smoking sign smiled at us again. And lit another cigarette....
The room was quite adequate and spacey, but again... cold! The decor was very, very military in style. Greyish beige with military green. But the most spartan element turned out the blanket. It was definitely made out of horse hair. I needed to wear two layers of clothes in order not to scratch open my skin from itching. But it was quite cold too, so we slept well in this strange place.
P.S. The hotel only has a Chinese name, and was immediately next to the bus station for the bus to Lijiang. This is why cousin had chosen this hotel to book for us... If and when I find back the name I will add a review of this hotel that may not have been western or cozy or convenient, but which very much added to the travelling experience. More to follow tomorrow...