NEW YEAR’S AFTERMATH
It continues to be sunshine and warm here. In the last few days I took a few day trips to some places around Yunnan. I’ve been laying low since the New Year Holioday began. The Chinese are enjoying one of the few “official” holidays they are allowed, and so everybody goes someplace else. When you take 1.5 billion people and cram them onto planes, buses, trains and highways, it is best to stay in the city. And besides, now Kunming is empty, relatively speaking. But the fireworks continue. Everyday and night there are wave after wave of explosions. This is the last day of New Year, tomorrow (Sunday) everybody goes back to work. I will say that each night it seems like less fireworks since New Years eve, but it lasts until 1 or 2 am, then starts up again about 7am. I am becoming shell shocked from all the noise.
70% of the busineses have been closed for a week now. Restaurants and food stores are open. Also the big shopping centers are open. But most people are gone visiting family and filling up every hotel and attraction there is. I noticed that prices for everthing is up, 100% in most cases. Now is not the time to play tourist! I will wait until next week before I travel again.
I did discover a new trick for parking in the city. I learned this one by mistake. It costs 5 Yuan (8 to the dollar) to park for 1 hour anyplace you go. At first it looks like parking is free since there are no parking meters anywhere. But every street has it’s human parking meter. Some guy in street clothes that walks up to you when you are getting in the car to leave. I don’t care where you park. If you stop your car, even off the street, someone is there to take your money. This can really add up in a day. So what I do is drive to a hotel’s lot. They are watchig there as well, but since I am not Chinese, they assume I am a hotel guest and never come over to me to pay. Man, I’m sooo bad! But hey, I’m retired and I got to watch the expenses!
My friends told me that for 120 yuan, I can buy a yearly pass for all the parks in Kunming. Right now I pay 20-60 yuan each time I go, plus parking. So next week I will go start the paperwork process and get my pass. You have to be a resident of Kunming to qualify.
Speaking of parks, it is getting warmer each week now. I notice many trees now have buds, so things are starting to bloom around here. There are trees here that do not have a single leaf, yet already have hundreds of flowers that look like roses. Very unusual to see. I’ll have to post some “nature” stuff here later. Kunming is famous for all the plants and flowers here.