Day 1: Kunming
I wanted to explore Kunming from the moment I arrived and put my foot down, but it was delayed by going to the tour company to make payment, getting the SIM card, and exchanging money. Around 3:30 p.m, I started exploring the city. My hotel, Xing Gong Hotel, didn’t look good from outside at all. The lobby wasn’t inviting and my expectation was very low indeed. It doesn’t look like what you would see on Agoda either. However, once I went in to my room and checked the room, it wasn’t that bad. It was a very decent and clean room. My only complaint was the cigarette smell in the room.
I wanted to go to Green Lake and the guy from the tour company, Jason, told me to go towards the West Renmin Road for 2 Km and turn right and I’d find Green Lake. So I started walking towards Green Lake and by then I hadn’t had lunch yet so I was really looking forward to trying some of the famous yummy Kunming food. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any smaller restaurant along the way, and I also wasn’t that hungry so I kept looking for a small place to eat. After walking for like 1.5 Km, I found a Chinese archway to my right and my instinct told me it might be the way to the Green Lake. So I crossed the road and started walking down the street. Inside this street, there were many smaller restaurants but most of them were empty and may be because of the time. I didn’t want to go inside a restaurant where it was dimly lit with no one inside it. I looked around and finally found a place where there was one guy eating a bowl of noodle and it looked absolutely delicious. I ordered Mixian as it was the only food I knew in Chinese. Thank God, I asked Jason about some famous food in Kunming. It is a type of rice noodle, a specialty of Yunnan Province.
After I had that good bowl of Mixian, I continued my journey of finding Green Lake. After asking two guys for direction, I found it. It is an urban park and really beautiful. The moment I arrived there it started raining. I saw the upscale Green Lake Hotel across the street and there are restaurants and tea houses around the lake. I took some pictures and it would have been so nice to sit and read a book in the park but because of the rain I walked around for a while and decided to go back.
On the way back I took a different route and I had no idea where I was going. Well the best thing is a silent praying, asking God to take me to a right way. He did indeed. When I saw the Chinese archway again, I knew I found my way again. I had been walking for a while so by that time I just wanted to sit for a while and had a cup of tea or coffee. I saw Starbucks across the road but in the back of my mind I was thinking what a lame idea to go to Starbucks on my first day in Kunming. So I walked around and tried to find a local tea or coffee shop. Well, believe it not, there was none. So I went back to Starbucks and how happy I was to explore the inside of a Starbucks in Kunming. It really reflects the nature of the surrounding and now I only regretted for not taking a picture inside the shop. I enjoyed a raspberry iced tea while reading “Teacher Man” by Frank McCourt.
After a while, I went back towards my hotel and I thought about eating something for dinner. But that giant Mixian bowl still took over my entire stomach and had no room left. So I went back to my hotel and praised God for the great first day in Kunming.