Kunming... Cheerio to China
Trip Start Sep 01, 2006
19Trip End Jan 03, 2007
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Where I stayed
Hey, Kunming is the cleanest city we've found in China, even in the markets there's no rubbish polluting the streets.
Booking into the Camellia Hotel on Sunday afternoon, we discovered the Vietnam Visa office in the same building and OPEN, so we put our applications in, parted with Y400 each ($67), which is an absolute rip-off, but we're consoling ourselves with the knowledge that Vietnam is cheaper to travel than China, which has been pretty cheap anyway.
We've counted up our expenses, and found it has cost us $535 a week over 2 months, about $80 more than we budgeted.
Anyway, we have enjoyed 3 days of relaxation while we waited for our visas, another totally unnecessary delay. Strolling the streets we came across a wedding party, and after the ceremony the bride and groom dispense goodies from trays in a reception line; the goodies on offer include sweets, peanuts and cigarettes. Nice One!!
Small businesses, including restaurants, are fond of sales meetings, just like we are at home, but these are conducted out the front of the building where staff are required to stand in line at attention and listen to the loud diatribe being bestowed upon them. Bit like at Toyota when we used to get our weekly dressing-down.
We have discovered the flavour and texture of Sweet and Sour Pork, something neither of us have had for years and years, so we've lived on that for 3 days, but now we've only got Y50 to last us until we cross the border, so it looks like instant noodles for dinner tonight.
We just spent Y300 sending 15kgs of warm clothes home, so hope the weather is mild.
One thing we won't miss is the class distinction in this country. If you own a vehicle, motor scooter or even a bicycle, you are granted the right to over-run any pedestrian who dares to walk in your path.... the poor are definitely the downtrodden.
We leave in 4 hours for Vietnam on a Sleeper Bus, something we have yet to experience. The bus sleeps about 30 people in three rows and three tiers, no sitting up available.... so I hope we are either tired or pass out in terror. We arrive at Hekou on the border at 7.30am, then we get to cross the "friendship" bridge, which is an obvious misnomer, because the Chinese dislike the Vietnamese..... but they have a bridge, so we'll walk across it for the bargain price of 10,000 dong which is about $1, then motorbike to Lao Cai (don't know how we're gonna handle that with our backpacks), then bus to Bac Ha where we'll do some trekking for a few days.
So it's goodbye from him, and farewell from me. Catch you in the next country.