Carl and I arrived home from our trip to Yunnan last night. After a night of the best sleep I have ever had and an early morning Packer victory, I am really excited to have some debrief about our trip. Even though we were only gone for a few days, we packed so much into each day. So as to not overwhelm everyone with information, we're going to split up our stories. Starting with:
Xīn Nián Kuài Lè - Happy New Year
The week of the Chinese New Year seems like a nation-wide lock down. It felt like Carl and I were the only ones working in the whole city! On the bright side, it forced us to make our first meal. The result: noodles with steamed vegetables and soy sauce. It was successful in that we didn't burn the apartment building down and the steamed veggies were good, not successful in that the noodles looked like a huge blob of wrigily white things and tasted about that. Needless to say we were extremely anxious to catch our train to Kunming, the capital of the Yunnan province. This was my first overnight train experience and to be honest, it was much better than I thought. After deciphering the highly confusing flashing signs guiding us to our train, we boarded. I don't know how it is in other places, but in China you have 3 ways to travel via train:
1 - hard seat (more to come on this option later)
2 - 6 beds to a compartment, 3 on top of each other
3 - 4 beds to a compartment, 2 on top of each other
We took option 2. We both ended up on the middle bunks and settled in for the night. The middle is a pretty good option. You have enough room to sit up and people don't usually sit on the middle bunk before going to bed.
We arrived around 5:30am and Carl, the Magellan of our duo, found a bus to take us to meet our friends at the bus station. We then boarded a bus that drove us to Lijiang. One special note about the bus - it was playing old James Bond movies in dubbed over Chinese. Highly awesome. The Chinese countryside is truly beautiful with mountains serving as farms (the Chinese terrace the mountains and farm on the side of them), cities and just beautiful landscape.
|A view of Old Town Lijiang and|
Soon after our arrival we set out, ready to celebrate the New Year. But only after becoming acquainted with our new hostel mates:
The whole city was lined with Chinese lanterns and fireworks were exploding over our heads. We wandered through the streets, looking at art work, food and lots of people watching. We ate at a local hot pot restaurant and then continued our wandering. Sunny, a Chinese friend who was with us on the trip, always eats dumplings at the New Year, so we stopped for a midnight snack. As we wandered the streets to our hostel we were accompanied by a fresh round of fireworks, all welcoming in the Year of the Rabbit. A truly spectacular evening :)
|A view of Old Town, Lijian at night|