Friday, 18 June 2010


Tuesday 15 June: There's no real reason to linger long in Kunming except to wait three days for your Vietnam visa.
In Everest Michael Pallin and the film crew spent an evening in Kunming's Hump Bar. I do one better and sleep there - it's also a youth hostel. Sadly not a lot of humping goes on - the complex is dedicated to the American Flying Tigers who flew "The Hump" to supply the Chinese army from British bases in India after the Burma Road supply route was captured by the Japanese invaders during World War II.
Friday 18: Finally with visa in passport it's a slow bus to the rice terraces of Yaunyang near the Vietnamese border. But, I get lost en-route to the southern bus station so take a taxi. It's still under construction at it's new location and even the taxi driver has to ask directions. Bad news, I've missed the last morning bus and the next is at 7:30pm.
I decide to look round the shops - this is an understatement - the biggest shopping centre I have ever seen (or ever want to see) is opposite the bus station. Business is slow and most shop keepers look bored, some look very bored, the rest are asleep, or possibly dead - it's difficult to tell. I walk briskly along for four hours with wall-to-wall shops on both sides and don't see the same shop-front twice. There are hundreds of shoe shops, all different, too many to count. So I count, what I think will be, the least numerous types of shop. Amongst thousands of others there are 51 umbrella shops, more selling sunglasses, 15 teddy-bear shops, many more toy shops, 6 wig shops and 3 exclusively selling garden water features. There may be more but I can't tell because I have only walked around one floor of the five-floor complex. You really could shop till you drop.
Kunming pictures (none of shops).

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