Travels with Steve: Kunming, Xingping, and Beijing

Travels with Steve in China (Here we are in Xingping, Guangxi Province)

Steve and Tamar in Xingping, Guangxi Province (Photograph courtesy of Jeannette Bajon)

Joining me in China for almost three weeks, Steve and I spent two full days in Kunming, more than a week in Xingping, and almost a week in Beijing. Below are his comments with judicious censorship by me and a few photos to go along with each section.

Kunming. Yunnan Province

Capitalism is rife in Kunming, Steve has noticed. Young people trying to be hipper than hip by dressing as au courant as they can. Hand-helds are always at the ready. Hear that sound? It is Mao doing the circular shuffle in his grave. Steve is proud that Tamar has figured out all these little alleyways and niches for herself — she is a regular at the baozi storefront as well as the local soy milk and fried dough breakfast stall. She knows the bowling alley and the best massage parlours, as well as the most scenic parks in the city. Finally, she can find good food. What more does she need? Here are a few photos from our two days spent together in this Spring City, South of the Clouds:

Kunming, Wall in Daguan Park

Kunming, Wall in Daguan Park

Kunming, (Salt) Peanuts!

Kunming, (Salt) Peanuts!

Kunming, Man Drinking Tea at Confucius Temple

Kunming, Man Drinking Tea at Confucius Temple

Kunming, Man on the Street

Kunming, Man on the Street

Xingping. Guangxi Province

Who would have guessed that we would have spent ten days here? Not us. This place is home to the surreal landscape of Chinese scrolls and water colour paintings. Karst mountains all around the rivers that populate this area, including the Li River, which is minted on the 20RMB bill.  We’ve hiked and biked and visited the local market. Steve climbed a mountain while Tamar rested and studied. We took a “plastic” bamboo ride on the Li river, sauntered through groves of oranges, mandarins, kumquats, and pomelos. People working in the fields were generous and offered/gave us fruit during our various hikes. We have must have said, “Ni Hao!” to strangers a million times. Tamar had her brain re-wired speaking French to other tourists at the hostel while she was also trying to speak Chinese to the staff and friends of hers who work at the hostel.  We had plans on staying for five days and then go northwestward to the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces but a bout of Mao’s Revenge (poor Tamar) kept us here and we were just as happy with that. Below are a few photos from our 11 days spent together in Xingping.

Xingping, Countryside, Li River in the Background

Xingping, Countryside, Li River in the Background

Xingping, Old School House

Xingping, Old School House

Xingping, Countryside

Xingping, Countryside

Xingping

Xingping

Xingping

Xingping

Xingping

Xingping

Beijing. China’s Capital City

Steve expected a landscape of massive modern skyscrapers, spewing an endless supply of young people dressed like lawyers, hustling and bustling to build the perfect State, as serious as the day is long. Nope. Like Kunming and even like Xingping –  but more so – Beijing rings with the sound of frantic, petty, business. Everyone is buying and selling in the streets, in the little tiny first floor shop fronts. Apart from the Givenchy and Chanel shops this place is okay!

Steve wanted to see the embalmed Chairman but poor timing on our part made us miss our appointment with him.  We walked a stretch of the Great Wall; God help us if the Chinese ever get so motivated again. Our trip to Beijing: walking and eating and walking and eating and walking and eating as well as visiting friends. Steve thinks Peking Duck is AOK. And based on a conversation with a friend in Beijing we discovered that in October 2013 the Canadian population was 35,295,770 compared to Beijing’s December 2013 approximate population of 21,229,000 (“unofficial estimates put the population at around 21-22 million”). Unfathomable. These are the top three biggest landmasses by country (remember — Beijing is JUST A SMALL DISTRICT in China).

Number
Country
Area (km2)
Area (miles2)
1.
Russia
17098242
6601668
2.
Canada
9984670
3855100
3.
China
9706961
3747879

And finally, here photographs from our five days spent together in Beijing:

Beijing, Outside the Forbidden City

Beijing, Outside the Forbidden City

Beijing

Beijing

Beijing, The Great Wall

Beijing, The Great Wall

Beijing

Beijing

Beijing, Outside the Forbidden City

Beijing, Outside the Forbidden City

6 thoughts on “Travels with Steve: Kunming, Xingping, and Beijing

  1. Janet Fortunato

    Tamar, I love your pictures, especially the children. I expected to see more pictures of you and Steve. I haven’t seen your hair that long in a very long time. Happy New Year to you and Steve. When will you be heading back home from your excellent adventure?

    Reply
    1. sbandtg Post author

      thanks, janet. no — i try not to put many pictures of myself up since it is really a blog about my wanderings. i hope you are well. hnyty!!! be well and healthy.

      Reply
  2. Nora Zaldivar

    Nice photos. Glad you had a nice time with Steve. Got 10 in. of fluffy snow since yesterday. Lab was closed today and all schools off. Now it’s below zero and icy. Happy New Year TG!

    Reply
    1. sbandtg Post author

      it was a terrific time and he was very patient as i took many photographs along the way. he had all this week off to catch up for next week. i love snow falls…. and miss that…. but it has been lovely here with sun and temperatures in the low 60s. HNYTYAYF!!!

      Reply
  3. MMeL

    It seems you had a great time travelling with Steve. Thank you for his comments and your wonderful photos. Xingping seems really beautiful, I have to remember it for the next time I go to China!

    Reply

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