On the western base of Wuhua Hill in Kunming is Cuihu Lake Park, a maze of concrete paths surrounded by patches of everyone's favorite perennial evergreen: giant bamboo trees. Yesterday, the park was filled with people of all ages, enjoying the sunny weather with family and friends.
There were lovers enjoying a moment of respite alongside the waterfront...
... enthusiastic out-of-towners taking impromptu paddle boat rides across the lake....
... & old Chinese men playing instruments (very well) and singing (comparatively poorly).
As we sat down by the lake, we reflected (sorry, can't avoid the pun) on our time in Kunming, which has been a calming pose from the constant traveling and exploration.
Spending time in Kunming has been especially great because, whether or not I can believe it, we're leaving for Bangkok, Thailand tomorrow. Actually, we're leaving in about 8 hours. Everyone I know who has ever been to Bangkok has told me that it is a city that is at once totally enchanting and completely overwhelming. I'm ready. I think.
While it's only been a week, we've gotten pretty used to "China Lite" here in Kunming. The above photo is of the city's commercial district, which is pretty much the antithesis of any other shopping area that I've ever encountered in China: clean, devoid of people at odd hours and somewhat quiet (except for the occasional radio bumping Lady Gaga or Chinese pop).
Also, as a side note that has nothing to do with anything, I'd like to share that while my clothes are about 2 weeks overdue for a non-hotel-sink wash, my bangs are overgrown and I've given into that "low maintenance" backpacker look... My nails? They've never looked better. Manicures in China cost around $3.50 USD and are fantastic.
But alas, no amount of nail polish in the world can hide the fact that my clothes need a serious wash, particularly since we're going to a country that boasts 90 degree weather in January. Awesome.
I may have said too much.
To steer this entry in a more pertinent and less TMI-direction, above are a version of the Uighur noodles that I extolled in a previous entry. On one of our last nights in Kunming we sat in a noodle shop and watched a young Uighur man make every Italian pasta-maker I've ever witnessed on the Food Network look like a complete wimp. Hand-cranked pasta machines? Please. These guys use their bare hands and they make it look easy.
And with that, I apologize to you, dear readers, because I'm aware that this entry has been convoluted to say the least. It's just that with one foot in China and the other in Southeast Asia, I'm feeling a little bit of everything all at once.
But there's no time for that! There are bags to be packed and final itineraries to check over. The only thing I can say for sure right now is that we will be spending New Years Eve in Bangkok! Feel free to follow our travel progress on twitter @74days and I'll update the blog tomorrow!
Much love to everyone back home,