Saturday, April 22, 2006


The landscape rolling by my train window has transformed from the urban congregations to distant misty mountains and nearby cliffs, winding rivers, rice paddies, ox and cymbal-hat-wearing farmers.

In a city where one has nothing to do, Kunming is modern'ish, has plenty of western touches, and sits at a higher altitude than most of Australia - 1,890 metres !

I checked in to a hotel near the station. Also checking in, Shouko, a Japanese girl from Osaka, mentioned that the showers were dirty. At first I was shocked to meet a Japanese traveler in China, especially so far from the east coast business cities (like Shanghai). Next I realized how long I hadn't spoken any Japanese and how quickly I am losing the language basics! Finally I was shocked in the bathroom; not just at the fact that it was co-ed and lacking a door, but the common trough that I began shaving over is the exact same sink used by the kitchen staff to wash the dishes - mental note to self: do not eat in this hotel's restaurant!

bikes and flowers - unusual mixIt's a sunny beautiful day. Shade and cleaner air courtesy of the trees lining the footpaths make for pleasant walking. I wandered into a restaurant / bar named Sakura - good idea since I missed hanami in Hiroshima. Full of cheery rasta colours; Enya, Deep Forest and other enjoyable music; revolutionary characters (Cuba's Che Guevara, Russia's Lenin, China's Mao); wood decor and soft couches Wow! I am quite suspicious that I am their only customer...

best pizza I've ever eatenFurther tempting fate, I ordered a meat lover's pizza and an iced coffee. The iced coffee wasn't; it was pretty lame in fact. On the other hand, this pizza supersedes any I've ever had! After my 3 complete failure attempts in Japan, I was about to give up on pizza in Asia altogether. I could comfortably sit here all afternoon, but I should sort my onward travel. You can even order lamb chops from New Zealand here!

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