30 April 2011

7. - 30 APR: Flight to Kunming, Shilin stone forest

A two-hour flight delay screws up our schedule a bit... Anyway we get to Kunming and head of to the Shilin stone forest. Shilin actually means "the stone forest". It’s a long drive, and we don’t get there before the early afternoon. Great weather and very pleasant walk in the karstic formations.

There are zillions of Chinese tourists, but when I ask our local guide whether there might be a less beaten track he says yes, of course, and off we go. In a second we are alone with the rocks and the water canals, taking pictures from the precisely designed walkways that snake around them.

All of a sudden it’s eerily silent! Great. After a while we meet some ladies who are returning from the fields, dressed in bright colors and all wearing a wide straw hat.

As we head back to the bus the sun is setting, and a few more ladies approach us. These are vendors of table cloths and little embroided wallets, five for a dollar. We all buy some, they are in heaven!

The ride back to Kunming is not easy. Lots of traffic. We don’t get to the city before 8pm or so, too late to attend a concert of local music I had planned to take the group to.

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