TSMIA | Kunming, China : Part One
Words by Tim Wong
Last month, I left the country for a trip over to China simply because I’ve always like traveling to see new places. My destination of travel has usually been Hong Kong as I have family and friends there since my parents immigrated from there. Hong Kong has always been one of my favorite places in the world because of the lifestyle there is just something I found so easy to fit in, but I’ll get to Hong Kong later. My past couple trips to Asia have been to somewhere new along with a connecting flight in Hong Kong so I can spend several days there while I’m at it. The previous destinations were to Thailand and Japan which I just had a blast and this time I went to Yunnan, China. Yunnan is similar to a state here in the US so over the course of the trip, I made my way through several cities. In case you were wondering, TSMIA stands for Tim Scribbles Missing In Asia as I was gone for about 3 weeks.
One thing to keep in mind is that on this entire trip, I only used my Canon 5D Mark II with two lens: 35mm L and the nifty fifty. So for those who know what I’m talking about, this is definitely not the most ideal set of lens for a vacation where you have no idea what you’ll be shooting. Something like a 24-70 L and a 70-200 L would be most versatile, but since I can’t afford either of those lens yet, I made due with what I had.
The first city I landed in was Kunming where I stayed for the first night, but had to leave for another city and return back to later on so for the sake of this post, I will post the whole time in Kunming here.
We had arrived in the afternoon and retired to the hotel until dinner.
This is something I used to eat all the time. The dish is called Lion’s Head which is essentially pork meatballs and cabbage. I have no idea why it’s called Lion’s Head.
I think it was safe to assume that fresh steam fish was a common dish in this culture because we pretty much had it every meal along with roast duck.
Now a bit of time travel to several days later because I was in Yunnan for about a week and Kunming was on Day One and the last two days.
This is The Stone Forest or Shilin which is a massive limestone formation park located in Shilin Yi Autonomous County. This is a pretty accurate description of the place: “According to legend, the forest is the birthplace of Ashima (阿诗玛), a beautiful girl of the Yi people. After falling in love she was forbidden to marry her chosen suitor and instead turned into a stone in the forest that still bears her name. Each year on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month, many Yi people celebrate the Torch Festival (火把节 Huǒbă Jié), which features folk dances and wrestling competitions.”(Wikipedia) Stone Forest is the most expensive tourist site in all of China, but the park itself is quite large and has plenty of things (mostly rock formations) to see.
Maybe this is a bit Asian of me, but I quite like the stone table and seats. I could picture myself playing Go or Chinese on it or something like that.
Sword Peak Pond reminded me of those Chinese Kung Fu dramas where swordsman go train/meditate/find super ultra rare swords…or something.
One of the things the park does is create this ponds as they are not natural and the reason they do this is because…it looks better. Sure it does look rather beautiful, but now that I know that, it does make the place seem a bit on the cheap side.
Shortly after a walk around a bit of the park, we headed off to dinner.
This just some sweet and sour pour type dish.
These buns were some sort of dessert with a sweet paste inside.
Some mango dessert coated in syrup.
There will be a continuation of my travels in Yunnan and Hong Kong soon with places like ancient cities, underground caves, and some wild off-roading.