Weekend Trips

If you live in Kunming and you’ve been to all the obvious places (Stone Forest, Dali, Lijiang, even Xishuangbanna if you want to go further afield), you’ve got to get creative. Sometimes living in Kunming can seem like you get all the bad stuff about urban living – traffic, people shoving you, endless construction sites – without any of the good stuff like sophisticated cultural institutions and a critical mass of progressive, creative people.

Basically, sometimes you feel whiny and need to get out.

The past couple of weekends, RP and I have gone on little jaunts to lesser-known destinations in the area, including the beautiful Fuxian Lake as well as a Miao village a few hours north of the city. If only Fuxian Lake weren’t such a pain in the ass to get to it would be absolutely worth it to go for a weekend. Considering the fact that it took us 5 hours and four buses to get there, I leave you with these photos to enjoy vicariously while you figure out how to get there by private transport:

"Lonely Hill" in the middle of Fuxian Lake

Click the photo below to see the rest of the album.

Of course, in China, having private transport is not always going to take the hassle out of a trip that ought to be easy. The following weekend, RP and I joined a bunch of students heading to the Miao village of Bajiaoqing (芭蕉箐村); the trip was meant to take less than three hours, and instead consumed five or six hours due to the van breaking down twice.

At least the views are great

We had been invited to the village on their equivalent of Thanksgiving Day, and because this group of Miao people are Christians (don’t be surprised – missionaries have been active in these areas for a century, with breaks, and many groups of the Miao in particular are quite Christian) we were treated to a full chorus complete with four-part harmony singing the Hallelujah chorus in Miao and Mandarin. With accordion accompaniment.

As the chorus sang, little old women circulated in the crowd handing out sweet persimmons (柿子) – they are grown in this region, and it’s the season – as well as little packets of powder the size of restaurant sugar packets. These things contain a combination of crushed up paracetamol, aspirin and caffeine and are apparently consumed by people in this area somewhat recreationally!

Persimmons in the basket

A little minor drug dealing in rural Yunnan

Click photo above to view the rest of the album.

This weekend, we’re staying in Kunming and working – RP on his dictionary, I on my doula training. I spent the better part of this week on a business trip to the nearby destinations of Mengzi and Gejiu (two places that, I assure you, you are happy you will never have to visit) and I’m not really up for much adventure this weekend.

You may have noticed that I’ve been awfully quiet of late – I’ve been consumed with my job, but more significantly have been concerned with the direction of my life and my/RP’s life, my work in the broadest sense, my place in the world. I haven’t been very reflective about life in China recently, but have managed to find time for lots of annoyance with petty, mundane aspects of being here.

Trying to pull myself out of it. Will let you know how that goes.

3 thoughts on “Weekend Trips

  1. Think of how long it used to take to get to the North and South Forks from the city…or anywhere! Back “in the day” going 50 miles was really getting away so I guess you are having that kind of experience. Noted that you did not photograph where you stayed…also like going back in time, I assume? xxxx^^^^

  2. I’m thinking it’s been a pretty long time since it took four buses over mountainous dirt roads to get to East Hampton…but point taken. 🙂

    • Ask Scot-the LIRR and E train from Jamaica (which doesn’t run due to track work way too many weekends) may not be that different 🙂

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