A Travellerspoint blog

June 2013

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Aww - I'd LOVE to see a tiger... ehhhhh

sunny 34 °C

Today the four of us bussed it to Jane's Guesthouse at the start of the Tiger Leaping Gorge. This is one of the World's deepest gorges and the mighty Yangzi river crashes through it below. If you go to Yunan province, apparently you can't miss this trek. The gorge runs between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (5596m) and Haba Snow mountain (5791) and extends over 15km. Locals say that it gets so narrow at 1 point, that a tiger leapt from one bank to another.

Jane's guesthouse was at the entrance to the trek, but it didn't seem like Jane or anyone else had been around for a while. It seemed quite dingy and empty - but never the less we sat down and ordered some grub off a guy who's ear seemed to be leaking - he had his finger stuck in it for quite some time!
The food and dorms were grand, however there was a couple sharing our dorm who slept in the one bed and were constantly making slurpy noises, or trying to get it on. Jeez lads - it's not that expensive - GET A ROOM!. It was quite disturbing and Chen moved to the outer room as he was too close to the slurping. We had a great laugh that night showing each other comedy clips on youtube - my own particular choice was Father Ted. (as ye do!)

9140774989_f4a6c07faa.jpg9143003012_9d48809a84.jpg

TIGER LEAPING GORGE

We set off at about 9.30am and it was already feckin roastin'. I hung out at the back of the group - A) for some peace and quiet and non-fact related-updates and B) cos I was slower than the lads. The lads powered ahead and waited for me every now and then. My legs felt like lead and to be honest I didn't even think I could do the whole thing and we hadn't even gotten to the ''agonizing 28 bends'' yet. Good Jaysus.

9143004914_331f6c9aa0.jpg9140600883_53d2d57719.jpg9140608673_5e017f4e96.jpg

We veered off the track at the start and a local lady put us right. A lot of the locals in the area set up little viewing spots along the trek and try to charge foreigners to take pictures from them. We came across this old woman selling bananas at this lovely little viewing spot. She wanted us to buy some bananas in exchange for taking pictures. Myself and Stef bought some bananas but the other two lads didn't want any. They were taking pictures. We didn't as we were too busy stuffing our faces with banana. The auld dear went mad at the fact that the two lads were taking pictures without a banana purchase! We tried to explain that they were actually taking pictures with our cameras but alas she wanted none of that shite. She cursed Joao half way up the mountains, hoping his ''babies would be born without assholes''. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Harsh.

9140607281_30fa3d3cc4.jpg9142662120_9236743d3d.jpg9140778777_fc5c606d3b.jpg

We pushed on, the old woman's curses echoing up the mountain. It was an absolutely beautiful day with clear blue skies. Once again we were so lucky with the weather, the views were amazing. The going was tough for me but all the lads seemed grand. (I'm getting weedier I think during this travelling lark - need to get back doing some proper exercise and yoga! )
Just before the 28 bends we stopped for a rest. The bends themselves weren't actually that bad - (I thought the start was tougher) - we were rewarded with awesome views of the mountains around and the gorge below. We stopped at 3pm at the Tea Horse for lunch and then trundled on afterwards passing goats, beautiful mountain scenery and lovely waterfalls.

. 9140434217_1cb4a95ffb.jpg9142833646_faff394f5d.jpg9140612855_8b9dca8301.jpg9140613061_9c5ec726d3.jpg

After a few more hours of trekking, we reached the Halfway House Hostel, which was full of lots of other tourists. We met a few funny American/UK girls there, a lovely Irish couple, the same American lads we kept bumping into everywhere, an Oz/NZ couple, and another few people from the UK. There was a great auld buzz in the place and we all sat down on the roof which had spectacular views. We ordered a load of food and then had many beers under the millions of stars twinkling above. The four of us were the last to bed as per usual. During the night I heard one of the American lads leaping out of the bunk bed to go and puke over the balcony outside. UH OH. I was selfishly relieved that he hadn't eaten dinner with us. The thought of all 10 of us in the room having to follow him out to puke off the balcony was a little unsettling, if still hilarious!

9142850416_62520db670.jpg9142851820_16d7152cbf.jpg9142852904_563a712826.jpg9142864366_27fd521f43.jpg9142867572_0a21544d1d.jpg9140640957_c4b35274bf.jpg9140643273_a16eb47a2c_b.jpg9140642277_5258c52c38.jpg

DAY 2

The next day, we set off after breakfast and trekked for another few hours. It was another gorgeous day and the scenery was amazing. The toughest bit of the day was going right down into the gorge to the river to see the stone the tiger apparently leapt on. It took us an hour to get down these huge, higgeldy piggeldy steps to the river, but it was worth it. The river was bonkers violent and I questioned the ability of any tiger to be able to jump across without falling in. To which Stefan replied ''It's just a story.''.
Oh.
Right.
Aww. :(

Going down was bad, going back up was even worse. It was torturous. I was soaked in sweat. It was SO HOT. (You would think I'd be a skinny minnie after all this going up and down steps and what not, but I keep drinking too much beer with the lads. :D) I probably wouldn't have had so many beers last night if I'd known this was in store for us today. I thought it would be a quick hop, skip and a jump down to the stone and back up again.

9140783615_7651aa830d.jpg9140784681_57e6b40ef7.jpg9140783961_23613461b9.jpg9140785199_ef8c03b95a.jpg9140787061_a69c497d07.jpg9143014182_ba47c37911.jpg9143015950_9574e6882b.jpg9140788533_b7fe1b0981.jpg9143017720_957c591a70.jpg9143018166_2ef63aa149.jpg9142825700_72e2f6b8cc.jpg

Anywho we made it to the top finally. I looked like I'd been in for a swim in the river - everything I was wearing was soaked. I had a shower and some noodles in Tina's guesthouse and felt a bit better.
There had been a landslide on the mountain nearby and the road we needed to take to Shangri La was blocked so we all had to be driven to the landslide by mini bus, wait on one side til the drilling and construction work stopped, then walk to the other side to get the bus. Some of the guys who had left Tina's agggges before us, were still standing around in the heat of the day waiting to pass. Sickener!

9140438697_603b108e6b.jpg9140440869_601bbca919.jpg

Getting the right people on the right bus seemed to be an impossibility for the lads who were organising the buses. It was like a bad sitcom. As soon as two new lads got on our bus, all our ticets had to be checked again and again before two other people were kciked offf. This went on for about 20 minutes! :D Eventually it was off on the road to Shangri La. Our group now included the 3 lovely American/UK ladies and the four of us.

Great people, non stop laughing, beautiful weather and epic mountain scenery!

9147029347_0cc6c534e1.jpg

Posted by squeakylee 06:35 Archived in China Tagged bus stone hot tiger gorge 28 leaping janes tinas bends Comments (0)

Shangri La

''a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world...''

sunny 28 °C

There were now 7 of us in the gang! 2 US gals - Camden (who was hilarious) & Jennifer, and 1 UK gal - Ellie had joined us. They were lovely girls altogether - they'd been living in Shanghai and 2 of them had just completed the Great Wall of China Marathon - JAYSUS - Ironwomen.

Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton. It is supposed to be a mystical happy land, and believed to be in the Yunann province. Today Zhongdian claims the title of Shangri La (renamed for marketing reasons). The countryside is beautiful and it's a great place to hang out and experience Tibetan culture without all the red tape and hullaballoo of actually trying to get into Tibet.

9140443309_71cef0f9dd.jpg9140442579_daafbd4e7b.jpg

Anywho the 7 of us checked into a YHA in Shangri La (check out this artwork on the walls)

9140446623_4130f6a393.jpg9140448239_1934525d74.jpg

Awesome eh??

Anywho we checked in and came upon Frenchy Trumpet girl sitting on the floor in reception, pouring over pages and pages of maps and notes. She was awesome. Mad as a brush and talked about 300 miles an hour, and with SUCH EXCITEMENT! I liked her instantly. Her name was Martah but I called her Frenchy. She got excited by everything - especially plants! Martah had been volunteering and studying in China for 11 months and once she was finished, she decided to travel around China for a few weeks. She carried her trumpet strapped to her back everywhere and everyone she met asked her to play for them. It started conversations for her (although that would have been no problem to her anyway), opened closed doors for her - i.e. got her into places for free, she went busking with it, played in a bar with some Irish and English guys with it and was just generally awesome. So Frenchy joined our crew and we all went out for another hotpot. Well I couldn't take another hotpot so went for some momos and they were (in the words of Joao) DEELISHHSHHEEYUS.. :D

After dinner we went drinking in the square for a while, we saw a baby do a poo on the street, we threw some shoes around in some sort of naf competition, and then realised we had a curfew and had to go back to our hostel. Myself, Frenchy, Stef & Joao stayed up drinkin, laughin and being eejits on the rooftop which was great craic altogether. (Don't we need this filter? Yes we do! - ha!)

Next day we pottered around Shangri La and went up to the big temple.

9149257328_76dc4ec342.jpg9142677934_3afbcd2729.jpg9142677994_06c2b9a11f.jpg

I liked Shangri La a lot better than Lijiang. SL was a bit quieter and less obviously pretendy Chinesey. (If that makes sense) The temple was cool and I sat and had a look out over the city, enjoying the silence. I heard some noise coming from the Giant Twirly Prayer yoke and took this to mean people were trying to push it round 3 times (for good luck?,blessing - I forgot to find out. I expect you have noticed my lack of facts in the last few posts - my apologies - i'm too busy having a good time to find out all the answers!)
Anywho we rushed to join in and push the big prayer wheel round. Loads of people started out pushing it, but then half of the buggers jumped out half way through, so while the first push around was easy, the second was harder and the third (with only about 7 of us left) was nigh on impossible. But we JUST about made it. :) YAHOO!!!
I felt pretty lucky and blessed by this achievement (although I have felt that way for most of my trip).

9142686094_78fb51558a.jpg9140458897_b4a1a44352.jpg9140459727_2014a50e66.jpg9140463289_ba22631986.jpg

Lunch was skewers of stuff at the market. It was nom. There were skewers of mushrooms, spring onions, yak, potato, chorizo, courgette and big chilli peppers - all covered in spicy pepper. DROOL. It was amazing, although our mouths were on fire afterwards.

9140465049_1b3b296988.jpg9140466003_08386ce75c.jpg

Back at the hostel we hung around for a bit playing Brain Trivia where myself and Stef got a WHOPPER SCoRE OF 7900!! NEW WORLD (lisa) RECORD.

Posted by squeakylee 05:05 Archived in China Tagged culture la prayer tibetan shangri yokes Comments (0)

Shangri La - The Tibetan Monastery

sunny 28 °C

When the girls and Chen returned back to the hostel, the gang of us trotted off to the bus stop to try and stay overnight in the big Tibetan Monastery nearby.

9140469743_557d92b9de.jpg

The aim was to get in free, so we left at 6pm and were hoping the guards/ticket dudes would be off duty by then. Chen had chatted to some other Chinese young people at the bus stop who told him the way to get in free was to hitchhike in with the locals. So, when we got to the ticket entrance office, we pretended not to hear the ticket dude shouting at us and walked towards the monastery village area in search of a lift.
Another ticket dude came out and collared us though, and asked us for our (pretend) hotel booking details. He told us we couldn't stay AT the monastery itself, there were only expensive hotels near it - yadda yadda yadda.

The three girls and Chen went in to the ticket office to see what information the ticket dude had. I'd learnt ages ago to let those who want to handle things, handle them, so I sat outside with Frenchy. We saw 2 Chinese people who were at the bus stop flag down a local's car and hitch a lift into the village. So hitchhiker extraordinaire Stef decides we would do that too. He told the girls our sneaky plans and the four of us, Me, Frenchy, Joao and Stef jumped into a passing car and got a lift up to the monastery. :D Success!! BUT there was another ticket checking office at the entrance to the monastery. DAM! I snuck into the monastery via the toilet, but when all four of us tried to sneak in, we got caught 'rapid'.
However Frenchy and her magic trumpet saved the day! The lads at the ticket office asked her to play a tune for them and she did and they rewarded us with free entry! Meanwhile the girls and Chen were still back at the ticket office trying to hitch hike up.

We had a good 40 minutes wandering around the monastery - it was really cool. There didn't seem to be any place for us to stay the night there though. Frenchy got talking to one monk and he let us into see the Big Buddha and the monks chanting. It was all very cool and spiritual (dunno if that's the right word) and I felt a bit teary eyed and emotional. The monks looked like they were having a great time though, chatting and laughing away during chanting time.
The artwork on the walls was amazing - so detailed and extravagant. There were various incarnations of Gods getting jiggy with it, vultures eating the intestines of deadmen, nudey men and women, and lots of other cool weird stuff. It was pretty epic and the monastery itself had a great view of the surrounding village and lake.

9140470513_f9a5224a43.jpg9142700960_c9556315b5.jpg9142703440_42139f7916.jpg9142730820_021757d706.jpg9142733344_c0f055e453.jpg9142726518_838bdfce6d.jpg9147027491_913e66aa6c_b.jpg

The girls and Chen finally arrived! They had agreed to stay at some local dude's gaff and have dinner there, in return for a lift up to the monastery. They went in for a look at the monastery and I went for a walk around the lake, which had cool viewing points of the monastery in the middle of it. I met some awesome locals on the way around the lake and had a right good mime/chat to them.

9142712496_f9e801300a.jpg9142717782_6681bbfeea.jpg

Later the gang of us went to the local dude's house for a dinner of vegetables, slices of FAT (really!!), rice, Yak butter tea (ew), Yak Cheese (equally ew) and other stuff.

9142721318_8ae56936fe.jpg

I wouldn't be a big fan of the Yak dairy products now - they taste like you're just taking a bit chompy bite out of a rather stinky Yak.
The guy's house though was amazing.

9140491609_fa6a3a44c2.jpg

He had lovely wooden features and details everywhere, big copper pots for cooking in and fabulously big bedrooms that would accommodate all 8 of us. The weird thing was the toilet which seemed to be out the door and down the road - it was literally a shit hole. :D All the neighbours used it as well as Joao found out early the next morning.

We got up at stupid o Clock the next day to go and see the sunrise and walked around the lake to a viewing point so we'd have a good view of the sun rising up and shining on the monastery. We sat in the morning darkness and waited. And waited. And waited. There was no sunrise! There was however some duck-lovin' going on nearby that kept us amused for a while before we had to return to the gaff for a breakfast of delicious bread and spicy eggs.

9140493151_77dc71e358.jpg9142722510_97273e29b8.jpg9140495345_9d735740ec.jpg

We returned to the moastery to explore a bit more in the morning sunshine (it appeared eventually) and after another hour or two decided to hit the road back to our hostel in Shangri La and get my backpack. Stef was hitchhiking to Lijiang for the craic and I thought it would be fun to try it out. I'd never hitchhiked before and Stef (who'd hitchhiked around the block a bit) seemed like a good person to go with. He was confident enough, he'd done loads of hitchhiking before, he was good fun and mega tall so could easily take on a few Chinese who might get a bit rowdy! ;)

We had to bid adieu to the US girls (We said we might see them in Lijiang if we were successful with the auld hitchhiking), and we had to say goodbye to Joao and Frenchy who were staying on in Shangri La. I was pretty sad to say goodbye to Joao who was an awesome travelling chum, great fun and a super nice guy - and also of course to Frenchy who was delightfully bonkers. Chen had decided to try and hitchhike to Daqin so we said goodbye to him too. But I had a feeling we'd not seen the last of Chen! :)

Posted by squeakylee 05:26 Archived in China Tagged sunrise la dinner for monastery duck yak tibetan fat shangri lovin Comments (0)

Hitchhiking from Shangri La to Lijiang...

sunny 30 °C

So we set off. I couldn't stop smiling and giggling, which I attributed to nerves and lack of sleep. Stef however was as cool as a cucumber, him being a hitchhiking pro an' all, and he was confident we'd have no problems getting to Lijiang by 4pm. We'd told the US / UK ladies, who were getting the bus to Lijiang, that we'd see them later, and now we reallllly wanted to get to Lijiang before them. :D It was a beautiful sunny day and the view from the side of the dusty highway was quite nice.

9146996513_093919683a.jpg

So we walked for maybe 20 minutes or so before a chap in a van, with no seats in the back, stopped for us. Stef did his best (and amusing) hitchhiking routine, involving lots of small questions and big hand gestures!

Stef: ''Lijiang?? You go to Lijiang?? We come with you?? little bit? small bit? We come? Ok? We get in? ''

It worked anyways, yer man let us in to the back of his van but said he could only take us to the intersection as he worked in the hospital nearby. ''Grand job'', we said.
Yer man didn't say much, but he did offer Stef a smoke. Not me though. Apparently women don't smoke, or maybe aren't supposed to in China. So he brought us maybe 10 minutes or so down the road to the big roundabout/intersection, where we got out and perched ourselves on the corner, munched on some nuts and stuck our thumbs out every now and then when cars went by.
(I thought of that Felix the Housecat track - ''(Standing on the corner) Watching cars go by'', numerous times. :)

Finally some cool dude wearing a cap and sunglasses, smoking a cigarrette and carrying a tray of red bull in the back seat gave us a lift. (I paid special attention to what was in the back seat of everyone's car - juuuussst in case. ;) ) This guy wasn't going far either but he was pretty chatty and offered us a smoke and we attempted to chat to him using various apps and bad pronunciation. We told him we were on our honeymoon for a bit of a laugh. HA! :D He brought us another 15 minutes or so down the road before he had to go to turn up another road towards some big pipes to go to work.

9149218558_267a2af0c7.jpg9149219896_e0e7ce8d49.jpg

We were only just ouf of that car when another dude in a white van pulled over and after Stef's routine, offered to take us another bit of the way. ''This is great'' I thought.... ''and so easy''!
This dude had fake grass on his dashboard, Chinese cowboy music playing loudly and a SAWEEEET pair of blue shoes on him. We didn't understand him at all really, but he stopped to do his shopping in this tiny village for a while and left us alone in the van. LOL. We gave him a hand getting his shopping into the boot. I really thought this guy must have been going to take us a long way, seeing as how he stopped to do his shopping and all!

9149221000_2e0a9eb310.jpg9146993415_d47997ae59.jpg

He dropped us off at the DEATHZONE - aka an odd mall full of animal furs, bones, horns, gizzards and all sorts of other weird shit. Grim. Anyway too many buses were pulling in in where we were standing so we mosied on down the road til Stef spotted a ''great hitching spot'' down the road. I lolled.

9147025157_e14abf7c2d.jpg9149227720_e31c828074.jpg9149226484_7d0c3dbfcd.jpg

We waited here for about 15 minutes before 2 young lads in a car picked us up and gave us a lift all the way past Qiataou! ''BACK IN THE GAME'', I thought. We were in the backseat yapping away to ourselves and probably should have made more of an effort to talk to our drivers but were having a good laugh so didn't really think of it. We were mega lucky too as it pissed rain most of the time that we were in their car, and then just stopped before we got out. :D

9149228980_6849270bf3.jpg

Once again, the minute we got out of their car, we got picked up by an old dude in a truck. This was a mixed blessing as the truck was very slow and lost us a lot of time in our effort to get to Lijiang by 4pm. It didn't help that he got stopped by the Police and fined for not wearing a seat belt. :D He dumped us off at the outskirts of Lijiang and Stef did his routine on this little dude who was driving a tiny trailer. It was so funny. This guy did not want to take us at all but Stefan kept going with his ''little bit pleaseeeee'' routine. Who could resist his handsome face, big cheesy grin and boundless enthusiasm? Well not this guy! ;) Yer man caved in and let us in to his trailer and dropped us about 100 metres up the road before dumping us out again. BWAHAHAHAHAHA
We thanked him profusedly and he drove off. Then we saw him at the traffic lights!! GOING IN OUR DIRECTION!! So Stef points at him as if to say ''you ARE going our way? Why did you dump us off??''
SOooooo yer man let us back into his trailer again for another 5 minutes! He ditched us again just outside the old town and Stef unwittingly took the guys water bottle from the trailer, thinking it was his own. ahahahhaahhaha. I'd say yer man was thinking..''Robbing my feckin water now as well??? WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT FROM ME YOU FOREIGNERS??!!''..

We wandered on and stopped for some momos and who should walk by? Only the 3 girls! They were pretty shocked to see us and I think mega impressed. ;) We agreed to meet up later but I got the impression they were getting into nighttrain mode and we mightn't see them that night. We trundled back to Soh's place for the night and I checked in. We had a wash and went for some food and then met the rest of the gang at Panba hostel before another night of singing and bongoing in Soh's Private lounge. It was great fun. I'd say that was probably the best travelling day I've had on this trip. It was brilliant craic. I was pretty sad to have to say goodbye to my awesome Dutch friend and would have liked to have gone hitchhiking again the next day with him to Lugu lake. However we all have different paths to take and mine involved sorting out my feckin visa extension before I got kicked out of China. : )

9149229966_2693a50e35.jpg9147002369_81e202bcdb.jpg9149232212_284208a869.jpg9149234626_929edb897a.jpg

Posted by squeakylee 05:44 Archived in China Tagged la highway sunshine lijiang shangri hitchhiking dusty routine stef's hilarious Comments (0)

Back to Kunming

KINGDOM OF THE LITTLE PEOPLE!

sunny 32 °C

Got my visa extension sorted in 1 day with the help from a lovely girl called Shin from the hostel. Then I boarded the night bus to Kunming. This bus was unpleasant. There seemed to always be a smell of something gross, either piss or smoke, and I kept rolling towards the middle of the bus so I was tres uncomfortable and couldn't sleep much. I read my kindle until it died then saw the most awesome electrical storm ever with whopper thunder and lightning everywhere.
Got a few hours kip and woke up in a different Kunming bus station than I'd arrived at the last time so was totally confused. My phone was dead and my kindle was dead and I didn't have the hostel address written in Chinese so felt a bit fecked. I knew I could always go back and stay in Cloudland hostel if I could find it again, but I had booked into Upland hostel so felt I should at least try and find that place first.

A young Chinese man took pity on me and escorted me all the way to my hostel via the bus and walking a while out of his way! Another example of Chinese kindness. :) Awwww - so nice!! Once I'd checked in, I wanted to go straight to bed but there were no sheets on it and the room hadn't been cleaned yet, so I took a shower, ate a mega breakfast and decided to go to the DWARVE'S EMPIRE - i.e. KINGDOM OF THE LITTLE PEOPLE in Kunming.

An English lad I met had told me about this place that is populated only by little people who had been ostracised or neglected by the Chinese Government and society, so had decided to set up their own community. Now it is, in essence, a theme park, and the lads perform a few times a day for tourists; singing, dancing and breakdancing etc. So obviously this type of theme park has attracted much controversy. A lot of people are of the opinion it's exploitation and shouldn't be allowed to continue. Now I'm sure performing daily for tourists is not exactly what these little people want. I reckon they would appreciate well paid jobs, and respect from normal Chinese society, however that's not the way China works. They maintain no one will give them jobs and people judge them and treat them differently. It seems this is as good as it gets for these lads. They are paid well, they live together in a non-judgemental society of their own people and are getting on with life.

I was unsure whether or not to go to the park as I wasn't sure if going increases the exploitation of the little people? or if a visit gives them the chance to earn a few bob? However when I heard that the King of the Little People rides a tiny 3-wheeled motorbike and wears a gold silk cape, all reason went out the window. I had to go!! :D

I asked the girls in reception how to get there (I'm still not sure exactly where it was) and they told me to get 2 buses and a minibus. I couldn't find the first bus so walked to where the 2nd bus should be. I hopped on it, instantly fell asleep and missed the stop where I was supposed to get off. Oops. I got off somewhere in the middle of nowhere that still managed to have lots of taxi touts. 1 taxi dude wouldn't leave me alone and wanted 100 yen to bring me to the Empire. I told him to bog off and bought an icecream from a guy who pointed me towards some small minibuses down the street. A bossy lady shoved me on to the bus near the front and off we went.
The bus driver kept taking his eyes off the road to turn around and stare at me. I was like - ''arrrrghhh - watch the feckin road!!''

Anyways so the bus dumps me off at a fork in the road with a sign that has a butterfly on it and another sign that has the Chinese characters that match the one on my piece of paper (the reception girls had written it out for me) spelling out Dwarf Kingdom. I didn't know how far away it was though. hmmmm I decided to walk a bit even though it was ROASTING and I'd blow dried my hair. (THE ONE TIME!! ;) ) Anywho then some old dude offered me a lift up the road but wanted money. I bargained him down to a couple of euro and off we went. I was so glad I got the lift. The road was endless (well obviously it did end eventually), and was pretty windy and deserted.

I got to the theme park and there was a whole group of Chinese Female tourists there who were all dressed the exact same. It was weird. They seemed to all leave as as soon as I got there, which made me pretty much the only visitor there. :D LOL . There was a small butterfly park attached to the theme park so decided I'd wander into it. It took all of 10 minutes to admire the nice flowers and butterflys. There was a good view of the Kingdom up on the hill though.

9149374420_9cbcebb884.jpg9147146263_9cdba4b19e.jpg
9147139599_e644dfe9e3.jpg9147141045_76b877558c.jpg
9149372398_02d7ff3b32.jpg9149373424_0a6f09a586.jpg

Then I walked up a deserted road to a practically deserted arena with an empty stage, lots of benches in front of it, some hard seating at the back (all empty too) and a host of fabulously fake mushroom houses behind the stage.

9149381960_de1994a138.jpg9147147941_366e0931b8.jpg

There were a few stalls around the place selling ice cream and trinkets. ''Hmmm'', I thought, ''this is rather grim!''
I wandered in and out of the mushroom houses and Ni'Hao'd a few tiny people walking around the place, then went up to the big castley thing to have a look, but there was no-one really there either.

9149378756_7c9cf6d531.jpg9147150969_5851fb87af.jpg
9147151917_21e314d63c.jpg9147154025_b60e66c783.jpg
9147157327_74db0d27ef.jpg9149387494_e71854ec14.jpg

''Hmmmm'' - Nothing was happening, there was no one performing, and everyone seemed to be having a siesta. I was the only one there. I sat around eating an icepop for a while thinking about Life and Travels and What Indeed had led me to this place. Yes - it was my own twisted sense of what was awesome that led me here. It didn't quite seem so awesome now though. After an hour, I was still the only tourist in town and was becoming a mini celebrity myself around the place. I decided to call it quits and head back to my hostel, when all of a sudden I heard someone on a microphone!! Then a small trolley load of tourists went by me back up the hill!
''Wooohooo!!'', I thought, ''the show might still go on!''
Annnnd it nearrllly did. But then it didn't.
I bought another icepop (I was starving at this stage) and sat with the 10 other Chinese tourists who'd arrived. I played basketball with a tiny kid and generally waited for the magic to happen!

AND IT DID! Although admittedly not for another hour. We were all herded around the corner to see a small man climb a very tall ladder. LOL. Then 2 small men rode around a big cage on motorbikes! These lads didn't look happy at all but it was very impressive. After this we were brought back to the main arena for a magnificently LOUD Cabaret Show.

9147161463_eb1f939f59.jpg

All the little people came out on to the stage steps at the start.

9149392404_6a7425315f.jpg

They were introduced by 2 TINY people, who must have been children. Then the fun started. A group of little people dressed as cavemen and cavewomen came out and did a thunderous dance, a small man with big lungs belted out a whopper of a tune, another small man bumped and grinded and breakdanced his way around the stage to 2 Unlimited's - No Limits. He was bustin' some moves, and was definitely eyeing me up as he did his sexy grinding and booby touching! ;) The King also appeared, flanked by his two guards, and there was a big speech, but I didn't understand a word of it.

9149394872_32ecfe46ba.jpg9147167049_3077fdfb93.jpg
9149394024_d6615bef65.jpg

Then after this, a guy walked and ran across a tight rope with no safety net underneath! There was more singing and dancing and it all ended with the lads out on stage again. I was disappointed the King didn't ride the motorbike but ye can't have everything!

9147168015_b6753719d7_s.jpg9149397490_9cab5bb627.jpg9149399332_d363089eb5.jpg9147171483_7b072014d2.jpg
9149402948_206386434b.jpg

All in all - what an evening! What a show!! I am definitely glad I went and I thought most of the lads there looked very happy and content. They were all laughing and joking and smoking and forgetting their cues to go onstage and then slagging each other off and stuff. It all looked very jovial. :)

I got a minibus back to Kunming,

9149404458_21f808c5dc.jpg

and stuffed my face with noodles at the bar while some Englishman kept drumming his fingers on my table til I acknowledged and spoke to him.

I also decided this evening to go to Bali for the next leg of my trip and booked a flight for next week. Bali will do sure. ;) Be nice to have a proper holiday holiday.. :D
Can't wait to feel the hot sand through my fingers!

Posted by squeakylee 01:55 Archived in China Tagged people little kingdom kunming empire dwarves Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 13) Previous « Page 1 [2] 3 » Next