This post is the first of a series dedicated to my travel to South West China of last Summer.
After several “demanding” holidays that saw me crossing the Tibetan 5,000 meters with the fever and climb the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain with a f*cked up knee, I had promised to myself to choose a QUIET vacation, for instance a resort in Phuket or, why not, Maldive Islands. Finally, I had decided to visit Japan but then Fukushima reactor exploded and, since I still value the mental healthy of my mom, I decided to postpone to another time my adventures between the cherries.
Planning the trip
The end of July arrived and I didn’t decided yet where to go. After discovering that August is the Korean raining season, I discard last international possibility and decide I will stay in China as there are still is a lot of place I didn’t explore.
Considering that Shanghai humidity is killing me, I think that Yunnan, the land of eternal spring located on South West China, is my ideal destination. Bueno. Bonito. Barato. And cool, I would add!
After all visiting the Stone Forest – which is only one hour of bus from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province – is one of the 34129724 “things to do before I die” marked out on my imaginary agenda just behind “eat a big-ass ant” in Barichara, Colombia.
Moreover, Yunnan is the Chinese province which the coolest name: 云 (yun, clouds) + 南 (nan, South) = 云南 = Yunnan = Under the clouds.
Come on, with such a name how I cannot don’t come back? Yeah, I’ve already been in Yunnan last year but I only had time to visit the deep North, that is the part of the Tibetan plateau that the atheist government baptized Shangri-La County and annexed to Yunnan.
Feng, my girl, only has a week of holiday and, even if she doesn’t care about the Stone Forest, as any other Chinese wants to visit Lijiang, most famous and in my opinion less interesting Yunnan’s town.
The trade-off seems (and in fact it is) simple: a week is surely enough to complete the tourist gastronomic itinerary Stone Forest + Dali + Lijiang. Then we will see.
For finding a train to Yunnan at the end of July you must at least know the local Party leader so that we buy a plane ticket Shanghai – Kunming on qunar.com and we are on the way…
As in the worst thriller ever, I will disclose the name of the assassin: even if during my three weeks of vacation I spent most of my time sleeping, taking pictures and eating any thing I saw, I also managed to:
- Cross seven of twenty seven Chinese provinces spending sixty hours in a train, thirty in a bus, six in a bike, four in a boat and one in a canoe.
- Meet up with Ashima, the legendary maiden of the Stone Forest.
- Lose Feng on Mount Cang and scream for an hour before finding her at exit of the public toilet (women are all the same, isn’t it? : – p).
- Bypass the police checkpoint and almost fall over the cliff to reach Lugu Lake, the mother country of last (almost) matriarchal tribe.
- Spend a night standing in a train.
- Climb Emei Shan, one of four holy Buddhist Chinese mountains.
- Touch the foot of biggest stone Buddha of the world in Leshan.
- Visit the pandas in Sichuan.
- Lose myself biking among Guangxi hills.
- Slim down three kilograms even if I was eating as a pig.
- Spend less money than the one I would have spent by staying at home.
Well, you will find the details of the travel on my next posts ; – )