Sunday, July 1, 2018

On to Kunming - Higher Altitude - Cooler Days

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With our primary goal of seeing the Detain and Mingshi areas accomplished, we spent our last two days in Nanning mostly in our hotel room.  The city is otherwise not much of a tourist town...we were the only westerners we saw during our four full days...we got a lot of  It was hot and humid and our colds just seem to linger on.  Going in and out of really cool air-conditioned buildings and into hot and humid air, then back inside again wears on the immune system.  On top of all that it was our turn to be visited by King Montezuma.  Eating in restaurants has its fallback.  On top of a lack of hygiene in preparation, there's all the oil so many local dishes plenty of Imodium alond with rest and movies on TV filled our time.  The rest was good for us.  By the end of our stay things were looking up.

We enjoyed a late check out at our hotel...with the snafu in our reservation, this turned out to be one of the nicer hotels so far, albeit the most expensive.  Thank goodness for our reserve funds.  We are still on target.  Last night we received an email from Expedia informing us that our next hotel had been canceled...apparently it closed we spent the better part of two hours on the phone and online finding a replacement. 

We've given up trying to reduce our luggage weight any further.  We are resolute in keeping everything we have left.  We found some great luggage trolleys as Walmart...of all places...right below our hotel in the shopping mall...both for $14 USD.  They fold up nicely, less than the size of our carry-on bags, weigh next to nothing, and will help us along the way.  We should not have any issue with them on planes...we hope.  And with this we put the weight limits to rest...that is until we start whining

Late in the afternoon we headed over to the train station, this time the main station in town and decided since we were in a new place, we should get there at least a full hour or more early.  Sunday late afternoon proved busy and it took us all of our extra time to get through the various checks and security and find our boarding platform.  Our high-speed modern train arrived on time and we began our five hour ride to Kunming.

The ride of pleasant, passing farmland and small villages as we climbed up to 6500" and temps in the high 70's..  Every parcel of level land seems cultivated and most hillsides are terraced.  Makes since in order to feed 2.5 billion people.  An interesting observation came at sunset when there were absolutely no lights in any of the houses in the small villages.  I've read about China's push to get people into the cities.  Maybe this is a sign that it has really happened...and of course would explain the ridiculous amount of high rise apartment buildings going many appearing to be vacant after completion.

We arrived after 9PM and quickly made it to the taxi stand where an eager driver quoted us an off the meter rate.  At first we balked and demanded the meter...then realized for a 12 mile drive he was really only asking $18 USD...high by China standards but certainly fair in our minds.  Kunming is a huge city - 12 million - as are all fo the cities we have visited - and it took well over 30 minutes.

The hotel we booked late last night is nice.  It is 5* Chinese rated hotel.  Back home it would be considered an older but nice 3*.  We were put in a smoking room...we had booked a non-smoking unit.  Comfortable king bed, nice bath.  With an open window and some air-con the smell dissipated or at least we got used to it.  At any rate we got a good rest and are ready for the new day.

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