golden-haired monkey cigarettes
i woke up early to visit the flower market. i thought it'd take a long time to walk from my hotel, but i actually got there in about 20 minutes (it helps that sort of know the way now and didn't get lost). to my surprise, there was no flowers to be seen, and if anything, there seemed to be less floral activity than yesterday afternoon. i got some bad info! disappointed, i headed back to the hotel.
zengyi pedestrian road
the flower (and bird) market runs off of zengyi road, a pedestrian path that in the near future will be the epicenter of a new old town. walls along the path are postered with inspirational slogan about the glory that is to come, but behind the walls i can see the rubbles of the original old town, some houses still standing, so i was curious and went to take a look.
i figured they'd just be ruins, but was surprised to see people actually still living in them, whether legally or not.
sewing the clothes
washing the face
dirt core sample
it's actually kind of sad, when they started modernizing the city, the city planners failed to see the value of these old historical houses, so instead they called in the bulldozers. now they realize their error - if nothing else, at least an old town can generate tourist revenue - but it's sort of too late. it'd be interesting to come back to kunming in a few years and see the new old town, but if it's anything like what i saw at the twin pagoda towers yesterday, it's probably not worth seeing.
after a quick rest at the hotel, i hailed a taxi and went to yunnan normal university, to find professor zheng, who had the day off today so could show me around. i called but nobody answered, so i had some breakfast of rice noodles while i waited. when i finally got in touch with him, it took us a while to find each other because i sort of forgot where he lived and waited at the wrong building.
after he showed me more of the photos he took from his US trip a few years back, one of his old friends dropped by. we looked at his photos from a russian trip a while back, and i was surprised that both men spoke some russian, legacy of the soviet influence over china's formative years. after his friend left, professor zheng and i went out for lunch and had some soup dumplings (dumplings with special soup inside) and shiao long bao meat buns.
later he took me on a tour of the university he works at (45 years and counting), explaining the history, like how during WWII, a lot of other famous universities, like beijing university, actually moved their classes here in order to escape the japanese invaders. japanese then tried to move through burma to capture kunming and then chongqing (the then capital of the besieged chinese republic), but the chinese put up a successful resistance, and a lot of students left school to go fight (a large stella with their names honors their efforts).
we met a former student of his (now a professor at nearby yunnan university) who invited professor zheng and i to dinner later that evening. i then left the professor to run some errands. after a taxi ride back to the hotel, i took a bus to the bus station to buy a ticket to anshun, my next destination. an old woman outside the station started talking to me, and then asked if i wanted to "find girls fresh out of college." on the way back, i also asked visited a few more travel agencies about buying a plane ticket from guilin to shenzen/hong kong. the last one i talked to told me to wait a week before i was to leave and buy the ticket then, when they're discounted as much as 30-40% - so i'm going to hold off on buying a ticket until the end of the month.
i also visited the camera store that fixed my lens. i got the lens back last friday, and it worked fine over the weekend, but since then, it's started giving me the dreaded "error 99" crash message again. not as often as before, but i was concerned. the repair guy couldn't figure out what was causing the error again, and since i didn't have time for another fix, i'm going to wait. the lens itself isn't worth very much, and it's probably much easier to just by a new lens. it doesn't crash very often (just occasionally), and we weren't able to duplicate the error at the repair shop.
crossing the bridge back to my hotel, i stopped for a while to take some photos of a busy street market just underneath the bridge.
hot green peppers
i took a shower and rested, but slept for just 10 minutes before i was out the door again, back to meet the professor. i took a taxi and got off when i recognized the street we were passing. i visited the mandarin bookstore and bought a copy of "a guide of birds in china," a hefty tome that i saw way back in shanghai but didn't want to buy just yet because i thought it'd be too heavy - but now with just a few weeks left in china, i finally decided to buy it. i then met the professor and his former student, along with her 9-year old daughter (named "blue"), and later her husband. we went to a restaurant nearby and had dinner.
back at professor zheng's house, he showed me photos from a past xinjiang trip. it made me want to revisit xinjiang. he also had photos from qinghai, another place i want to visit.
returning to the hotel, i was relieved to find hot water coming from the faucet, and quickly filled up the tub to take a bath, a stack of travel books on the toilet seat cover, as i read up on anshun and guizhou.