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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.

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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.

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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.

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''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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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,

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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)

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