A Short Stay in Kūnmíng

Kūnmíng is also known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ due to its equable climate, just so happens to be in the middle of a big freeze as we’re passing through. Looks like the Christmas tan isn’t going to last long. We found some heat by having a Chinese hot pot for lunch. In a hot pot restaurant, you select how spicy you would like the pot, then you cook the ingredients yourself inside. I thought it would be safe asking for ‘medium spicy’, I was wrong. This was by far the hottest thing I have ever eaten, thankfully our current accommodation has a western toilet…

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One of my top things to see in China, never mind Yúnnán, was not the Great Wall or the Terracotta Army, but the infamous Dwarf Kingdom. The Kingdom of the Little People as it is officially named, was documented by Karl Pilkington in his spoof travel series, an Idiot Abroad. The amusement park is a showcase of little people who work in the empire to put on shows and saunter around the faux village to entertain the spectators, frankly I could not wait.

Getting there is a little tricky, after taking a public bus, alighting on the main motorway and having to finish the ride up the hill in one of the many tiny robin reliant taxis, I knew then this would be a strange day…

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After paying 80 yuan to get into the Kingdom, we were greeted by an utterly depressed dwarf wearing a Santa hat. The park looked like it had been closed for years, and there was no sign of any other little people in the Mushroom village, this was more like a ghost town than a dwarf town. After wondering around the abandoned mushroom houses for a while, we were informed by Santa, that non of the dwarfs would be making an appearance today because of the cold weather, and that the show had been cancelled…

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On our way out, we were treated to a few more dwarfs loitering around the main entrance, smoking one tab after another looking something between sick and edgy, maybe this was the show they were talking about. The woman at the desk insisted we had seen enough to justify the 8 quid entrance fee, I begged to differ, we got our money back…

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Just outside Kūnmíng we visited the Bamboo Temple. Actually not made from bamboo, this Tang dynasty temple is home to over 500 sculptures of arhats or ‘noble ones’. Artist Li Guangxiu and his gringos spent 8 years attempting to represent human existence in the form of sculpture, something that Tony Hart done in a single episode of Morph. If you count along from left to right till you reach the number of your age, then this is the arhat that best describes your inner self. No surprises that mine was the most ridiculous and stupid looking one…

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Jumping photos never work

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The Noble Ones

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The Chinese don’t celebrate Gregorian New Year, everybody should know they have their own a few months from now. Treating ourselves to a nice meal, we were the only people in the bar counting down to midnight and proceeding to sing the auld Robbie Burns classic. You go in fancy bars, expect to pay fancy prices for beer, luckily ignorance is bliss and non of the Chinese bar staff could be bothered to tell us not to drink the bottles we bought from the street, in the bar…Happy New Year people!

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Categories: China | 1 Comment

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One thought on “A Short Stay in Kūnmíng

  1. Now this place really appeals to me….. Marvellous and the food looks bril.

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