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On To Jinghong

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Too cold to do anything in Kunming so am flying out today to Jinghong in the south of China where it is reportedly warm. Was in Jinghong in the tropical Xishuangbanna Region in December 2004 when it was much warmer than this year.  Lonely Planet says there are over 800,000 people  in Jinghong, the capitol, and the many surrounding minority villages. It will be fun to go there again. It is unusually cold in Kunming and nothing is heated…I mean nothing…not hotels…not restaurants…nothing… including my hotel room. During this unusually cold winter there is an energy crisis in China and President Hu has called on the people to conserve. But the heat pad under my bottom sheet is toasty and I can lie in bed and watch Channel TV Asia with information provided by Reuters out of Singapore…but am not sure.

Big deal on TV the last couple days is Spielberg’s resignation as artistic director of the Olympic games. President Hu (who?) says politics shouldn’t be mixed with the Olympics. But he doesn’t mention the fact that China is the biggest provider of arms to the Sudan, of course. Or that China is blocking a UN Security Council resolution against Sudan because China gets most of Sudan’s oil. Guess Spielberg et al figured it doesn’t do any good to talk nice to China and this was the only way to get it’s attention. A Chinese official says it is not China’s foreign policy to react to criticism.  BTW, China is very worried about the possibility that demonstrations will mar the games.

And then there is the case of the two spies for China that were arrested by the U.S. President Who says the accusations against China’s spying is a bunch of hooey. He didn’t say it that way of course. He says the U.S. is trying to start up the cold war again.

So it goes…

I plan on uploading pictures of Josh’s menu items when I get to a place where I can use my own computer.  He says that small groups of the Olympic committee have been meeting at the Hilton for the last four years, that during the Olympics the hotel will be 95% full with the entire Committee and that he is bracing for the walloping restaurant business.

Almost Didn’t Make The Plane To Kunming

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008


Hard to believe I was in Beijing for two weeks. But you know what they say about stinking guests if they stay too long. So today I flew to Kunming in Yunnan Province in the south of China. Stewardess announced that the flight would take 3.5 hours to go 200 kilometers. I figured there was something wrong there…think she meant 2000 kilometers. Warmer than Beijing but still damn cold…39 degrees F. Had hoped for it to be warmer this far south. Might have to keep on going.

But before I could get to the plane, I had an adventure! Got out of the taxi at the airport and walked around to the back of the car to get my backpack out of the trunk. Then I’ll be damned if the driver took off like a shot with me flapping my arms, running and yelling after him in the middle of the road…to no avail. A nice taxi was coming up behind me…told me to get in…he ran the first taxi down to get him to stop. Boy…woke me up! The driver was just stupid! Didn’t even know why we were pulling him over until we got him stopped and pointed to the trunk! My rescuer kindly refused money. Travel tip: don’t get out of a taxi, if you have baggage in the trunk, until you see the driver getting out too!

I’m in the Camellia Hotel where I stayed both in 2003 and 2004. Great buffet breakfast comes with the room…$28 a night. Couple bars, internet cafe…mostly lauwai (same as gringo only it’s what the Chinese call anyone not from China). There’s a hostel here too…but mostly with twenty-somethings and I want my peace and quiet so I have my own room in the main building. Channel TV Asia is the only English language station but I get most of the world news….as if I needed it. Announcers have a British accent…think it’s operated by Reuters.

Same cafe down the street but with a different name…Chinese and western comfort food…but now with free WiFi. Around the corner is MaMa Fu’s Cafe…hot and sour noodle soups. And next door is a big noodle shop with Over The Bridge Noodle Soup…platter of meat and vegetables comes to the table and you drop the food in and it cooks in the still hot broth…indigenous Yunnan style soup.

No colorful minority peoples selling things in the street now. Guess it’s either too cold or the government has banished them.

I really like the neighborhood here…with a market nearby. A group of crazy Europeans are biking China in this cold…bicycles all parked in the street in the front of a sports clothing shop while they make repairs…older Chinese men stopping by to peer at the loony western barbarians.


Friday, August 4th, 2006
When I was in China a couple years ago, I met a lovely British woman in her 30's using an internet next to me in the bar at the Camellia Hotel in Kunming. We have kept in touch while ... [Continue reading this entry]

Camellia Hotel In Kunming China

Friday, December 10th, 2004
jWLtBzsBGHTUmbHjYHypj0-2006185073225366.gif Video Was really fun to spend time in the Camellia Hotel compound in Kunming, familiar from our 2002 visit to China, and fraternize with all the Western travelers and trade street-stories at the Mieli ... [Continue reading this entry]

Message from Ulaan Bataar

Saturday, October 9th, 2004
GyTjn0QZP9l6Qu21TubskM-2006198062551304.gif Greetings- Have been in Mongolia for the past week--initial few days in a ger bordering on a national park--lazy, relaxing days with hiking and Mongolian pony riding (when on the horse my feet nearly reach ... [Continue reading this entry]

End of the Burma Road

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2002
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Sunday Dec 1-3 2002 Arrived at Kunming from Guilin after 23 hours on the train. We had gained considerable elevation throughout the night. We took a taxi to the Camellia Hotel where ... [Continue reading this entry]