For my second day in Kunming, I went to visit the stone forest, a "forest" of karst hills located 30 miles from Kunming. No one from my hostel wanted to spend the $30 it takes to get there and enter the world heritage site, so I went alone. It turned into a long day, since I had to wait 1 hour each direction to get the bus (I read that they leave ever 30 minutes, but apparently it was every hour, and I was very unlucky).
Anyway, the stone forest was cool for the first ten minutes, but really was a waste of time. Most of the different formations look alike, and were not that exciting in the first place. So I think they travelers network has this one correct as puting this in the highly overrated category.
When I got back to the hostel this guy I was chatting with the day before was heading out for dinner so I went with him. We went to this resturant complex, where you put money on a card, and go to different stations and order food. You may have guessed, but I ate Fish and Mushrooms (I wanted to try the dumplings, but I was afraid they would have pork in them).
On my last day in Kunming, I went wondering in search of the flower and bird market. I think I found it, but there was no exotic birds there. Oh well. I had read that they had not only cool birds, but all sorts of interesting animals.
After some wondering, I ended up back where I had dinner the night before. This time I ate next door, since the resturants name was "Wei's." This place turned out to be a expats hangout serving pizza, indian food, in addition to chinese food. I tried ordering eggplant and fried goat cheese, but they told me I didn't order enough (classic mistake), so they convinced me to order some pizza also. Of course, I had way too much food at the end. Its funny, the pizza really tasted like the matza pizza I always ate on passover.
That evening I caught the plane to Guilin. In Guilin, I was suppossed to take the bus to the end (the CAAC office) and then get a cab to my hostel. After some confusion, I was convined to get out someplace else and take a cab from there. Anyway it worked out.
I only spent 1 evening in Guilin. My first mission was to get some money so I can pay for the boat up the Li River the following day. I left my hostel and walked 5 touristy blocks to the bank. There were lots of places to eat, nice shops, art and jewlery for sale and thats not all. Unlike Dali, every 30 feet someone came up to me to offer "massage, sex, beautiful girls." I think this part of china is relatively poor except for the tourism, since its hard to farm with all the limestone (its Karst everywhere in these parts).
Anyway, I went back to my hostel and booked a cruise. They offered a choice between a foreigner boat for $60 or a chinese boat for $37. Not wanting to pay more than the chinese (and thinking the english tourguides so far this trip, really didn't speak much english), I, of course, chose the chinese boat.
To Be Continued.