We were simply smitten by Dali because when we got to Kunming, we missed the immersion in nature and felt like we were suddenly disgorged into too big a city without warning, without enough transition. Before we left Dali, we made a second-to-the-last stop and checked out the Hilton and got excellent freebies from gorgeous views to an hour of fun in a posh play room, without paying a cent. (That’s another tourist-avoidance secret tip.) Our last stop was at a car repair shop where we walked down farm fields and once again, I couldn’t help take pictures of the burbling, gurgling, living stream that irrigated the land, plus the party of spiders that decorated the sky.
What greeted us in Kunming was a warm welcome from Alex, a friend of one of my students who treated us to one of the grandest meals of our trip — Yunnan’s specialty, mixian. The rice noodles come with a cornucopia of ingredients laid before you before it is gingerly eased into the broth. We have Alex and her mom to thank for such a special dining experience.
The next day, we run a bank errand that couldn’t be done in Dali because the transaction had to be performed in a bigger, higher tier city. After that, we explored Kunming and priority was finding a playground for Joshua and Jimmy who sat too long in the bank’s waiting area.
I don’t know if I’m the only one who finds this interesting from an architectural point of view but when the Pompidou musuem in Paris broke out with all its insides out, it made a splash in the world of design. This building may or may not have been inspired by it or may be a more prosaic version with all the exhaust pipes from the restaurants snaking horizontally and vertically from the openings, creating a dynamic, playful facade. I wish we could’ve eaten in one of the many restaurants but perhaps another time with friends who appreciate the mess and relish the intensity of urban life.