The post below was supposed to have been posted on Saturday... so pretend it is Saturday.
Today marks week 2 of my journeys in the People’s Republic of China. It has been good so far. We finally finished the surveys and the copies should be off the press. Monday we begin surveying. I am a little worried, but I guess anyone would be right before collecting data for their thesis.
Today was the first day we really had to be a tourist and the first day we were without a Chinese speaker. Needless to say, it was an adventure. I think it was great insight into what my life will be once surveying is over. We travelled to the Green Lake in Kunming. Kunming is very interesting because it has over 30 ethnic minorities which is about half of the minorities in all of China. A few of these groups perform at the lake. It is more like the older people come to practice. One of the Chinese people I am with said the old people are retired and get bored so they come to the lake to perform for fun. It is very interesting to see them dressed up in their traditional garb and dance with music! So we walked around entire lake. It is rather large! Below is a picture of the lake. There are many lotus plants. Lotus plants are basically tall lily pads. It makes a beautiful landscape! Both times I have gone there it has rained. It is somewhat magical watching the lotus leaves fill up with water then tip over causing the rain to spill into the shallow lake. I find it fascinating the tricks and incredible versatility nature has.
We then travelled to the mall area to get lunch. The mall has many tiny booths were you can purchase a variety of food. On the way, we got lost and ended up in a “flower market”. One of my favorite things to do in a new city is visit the market. I think the way a market looks and functions really describes a city. For Kunming, there were many different booths of “jade” (probably not real) jewelry, carvings out of small pieces of marble, and booths where you can purchase a pet. I think where Kunming comes alive is really the small street vendors. Maybe this is because we are potato people and eat an assortment of potatoes, but I think it really does represent the love for certain crops such as potatoes. The market had many people but it was not tourist driven like other markets I have been to. It was not focused on food either.
Next, we spent the next hour or two trying to figure out how to get back. I MUST say though, I actually got us back. It took a little thinking though. I actually have pretty good directional skills. I do not do well in areas I have not been before. I got us back though! On the way back, we stopped for donuts and of course potatoes to eat for lunch. The Chinese are brilliant donut makers! The donuts are below. They stuffed a donut with CHOCOLATE. I have never seen this creation in the US, but I recommend someone take it. Overall, it was a good day. Tomorrow, I must have all my things packed for the 20-24 day journey around Yunnan. I will write when I can. I am scared, worried, and anxious, but I am also really excited. As Brian and I like to say (aka steal from one of my favorite movies), adventure is out there!
Also, small side note… I have had a lizard friend the past 2 nights. Below is a dark picture of me capturing him in a mug. At first he scared me, but by the end, we were friends.
The past two days have been travelling to the prefecture, Zhaotong. It is absolutely beautiful here! Below is a photo of the area I get to work in. Life is rough, right?
More to write after we complete our first day of surveys tomorrow! Hip hip hooray!
Steph (Xiao Xiao is my Chinese name… Miss Smell…long story)