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Over the Bridge Noodles and Ballroom Dancing

sunny 27 °C

We wanted to get up early to catch the day train to Lijiang, but it didn’t happen. Getting to the station is simple and cheap enough at 10p per ride, but when we arrived we weren’t really anticipating the sheer size of the station and to make matters worse, as we are in China funnily enough, it was all in Chinese. There is apparently an estimated 10 million people travelling by train at any one time in China and approximately 20 million people in Kunming train station at any one time. Okay so I made the last bit up, but it really did deem like 20 million people, it was heaving. We managed to push through the crowds but which one of the 30 odd ticket booths should we choose. It was time for LP (Lonely Planet) and an information desk.
Kunming Train station

Kunming Train station


Well we were pointed in the right direction and were then standing in an hour long queue. We had read that you can buy tickets in the CIT travel agents at a slightly inflated price and so we abandoned the queuing idea and headed for the CIT using the map. We walked about a mile in the wrong direction to begin, with but we finally found it. We attempted to communicate what we were after but it wasn’t working and it wasn’t until the guy brought up an online translator that we understood that you couldn’t purchase train tickets there, so F@#K YOU Lonely Planet for your misleading guidance. We should have just stayed put in the station rather than rambling the streets for over an hour. Fortunately when we arrived at the station we were pointed to counter no2 with no Queue, but it was closed. Ste enquired and a woman opened it especially for us and we had our hard seat tickets for 10.21am in seconds. Result.

Roast Potato form a Street Vendor

Roast Potato form a Street Vendor

Stinky Tofu..Smells Like Rotting Meat

Stinky Tofu..Smells Like Rotting Meat

old Woman Selling Duck Eggs

old Woman Selling Duck Eggs



Lunch time and we were dying to sample the local dish ‘Over the Bridge Noodles’ in a restaurant that is 30 years old and specialises in making this one dish. We had a map, it wasn’t helping and we ended up at the incorrect restaurant, but eating ‘Over the Bridge Noodles” anyway. We were presented with a huge bowl of steaming broth and lots of tiny plates full of different meats, raw egg and noodles. These are then scraped into the hot soup and start to cook. I found the stock itself quite bland but it is possible to add chilli. What I found strange was that the people around us were only eating the bits in the soup and leaving the broth. We weren’t sure whether it was customary to do this or whether they were just full. Maybe Yu Pan might know?

Over the Bridge Noodles

Over the Bridge Noodles


On the way back to Cloudland, we made a diversion from our usual route and cut through the park. In China old people are much more active than in the UK and groups of old folk gather in the local parks to dance, exercise, sing, play music and majong every single day, come rain or shine. We stood gawping at a group of people learning ballroom dancing as a man played the electric piano. There was one particular man wearing a shirt and waistcoat, who knew the moves and was taking it very seriously. He obviously loved the fact we were watching and was giving his best performance. When the music finished he attempted to get us involved, but we shied away.

Waltzing in the Park

Waltzing in the Park

We continued our walk – old men with flat caps and sunglasses playing majong next to a business man smoking a fag while having his shoes shined, more people ballroom dancing and a couple of mini orchestras comprising of traditional instruments and wailing women. This was definitely the prime location for seeing what the older generations get up to.

Old Folk Playing Traditional Instruments in the Park

Old Folk Playing Traditional Instruments in the Park

Majong

Majong

Majong Master?!

Majong Master?!

Music in the Park

Music in the Park

IMG_2928

IMG_2928

Shoe Shine

Shoe Shine

Bad Breath?

Bad Breath?

Locals Gather in the Park

Locals Gather in the Park

Check Out the Slit Trousers - Quick and Easy for Taking a Dump in the Street

Check Out the Slit Trousers - Quick and Easy for Taking a Dump in the Street

Back to the hostel to do some much needed washing while the sun was still shining and we would drape our things over the balcony. We relaxed for a few hours and chatted on skype with dad before heading out for food. I got a little sidetracked by all the markets selling the most incredibly cheap clothing, you could get a dress for 4 pounds! AMAIZNG. We then got lost in wallmart for an eternity and came out with a ridiculous amount of jellies and sweets for the journey tomorrow.

Jelly...Lots of Jelly

Jelly...Lots of Jelly

Fancy Jellies

Fancy Jellies

Blue Chickens in Wallmart

Blue Chickens in Wallmart

Tasty Snack

Tasty Snack

Most restaurants were closing by this time, but a sweet looking woman beckoned us in with a basket of steamed buns and skewered meats which were DELICIOUS. She even donated her rice that was laid out for her dinner when we asked for mi fam (steamed rice.) The guy cooking the skewers also showed us a little trick for getting the meat off the skewers using a plastic bag. Everyone just seems so friendly and it is a pleasant change to Vietnam to be honest.

Posted by CarlaTracy 07:30 Archived in China Tagged food park train locals china transport dancing tickets kunming noodles

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