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"There is nothing so far removed from us to be beyond our reach, or so far hidden that we cannot discover it."
Rene Descartes

Look whom I've met today!

13919   |   photo 中国 贵州 animal monkey plant tree branch

Today was my only full day to spend in the province of Guizhou and I was kinda torn between visiting a vast cave system only accessible by boat and exploring the city's house-mountain plus visiting wetlands outside the city. Found out that the tickets for the morning trains to the cave were all sold so I hopped on the buses down to the Huan Xi Wetlands.
That was an extraordinary trip, people were already packt like sardines as I had to stand next to the driver when even more folks and a woman with a large basket full of peppers cramped in, because why not? It took some 90 minutes, mostly because we drove along a neverending construction site of a highway, which in harsh reality meant that we were trucking over impromptu, makeshift lanes sometimes climbing the sidewalks and whatever most-horizontal planes. I can't image forgetting about that when I get the urge to complain about road conditions anywhere.

The river and lakes of the park were such a welcome relief, also because the weather was incredibly good. No stairs to climb meant I had a full afternoon just strolling from islet to islet, taking in the sweet sunhine, enjoying the flora and my rockstardom. Well, that's really how it kinda feels like being asked for fotographs every now and then anyways (8 Especially when I let my hair down people just can't help but have their attention diverted. No 15 minutes go by without someone going:"Harro!" and they flip just when I respond and wave:"Hallo!" :D And today it's even been people of all ages and even from passing motorcycles or the other side of the street.
Enough allures, the area was amazing and astonishingly featured spots where one could sit in near silence and just relax and that's the very first time I experienced that over here.

13919   |   photo 中国 贵州 water river mountain forest human umbrella

Guiyang is such a lovable city, more civilized than Kunming but equally as green, located on a large river and fashionably up-to-date like Chengdu and modernity-wise exactly in the middle between those too. The first subway line went into operation only about two years ago and there's tons of construction sites around. Every major Chinese city kinda has/is looking for its field of expertise and Guiyang claims itself Big Data capital. Someone told me that Xi'an is the China of the past, Shanghai is the China of the present and Chengdu is the China of the future. My bets are Guiyang is on track to become the next Chengdu, 100元 on that!

13919   |   photo 中国 贵州 city mountain forest fog

Can't sleep.

13919   |   photo 中国 贵州 city building night light

Enough with the superlatives already. Jiaxiu Temple is the only beautiful place in a metropolis on this planet.

12919   |   photo 中国

So this is how you upper middle class. I'm only here for two nights and this is kinda halfway through my trip so I thought in advance I might as well prepare to be in need of some comfortable well being. Peep the toilet! %) And it's also got a small pseudo-balcony behind sliding doors to it!
Catch me at the pool after dinner.

12919   |   photo 中国 贵州 room

Kay: 你什麼時候回來的?

Kay: 想你 :-O

长胡子的老虎,茉莉花龙的继承人: 9月21日 – 也许一点也不 :P

小耳熊猫: : 然后到那时 !!

A little something I made at the peacock-inspired Kunming Railway Station this morning. Had to get up real early and take a taxi, because the first subway train wouldn't run before 6:40.

12919   |   digital.art black.white Processing

Can you believe it? They were actually flying my flag when my lift descended down to Earth again! (':

11919   |   中国 云南 photo sign flag

Until that point the day has been full of unexpected surprises but there still were two more to come. Yesterday I read on a local city guide that a Norwegian Band called Sturle Dagsland were about to play and they were giving away two free tickets. So yeah, I won them! Awesome, would've gone anyway, cause they described the guys as a pretty excentric and unique mixture of all kinds of the-good-kind-of-weird shit and I'm always up for that.

So the other surprise was that it was impossible to locate the venue D:< After coming down from the Western Hills Park I actually took a taxi ride through the district where it was supposed to go down. They built smaller versions of the Eiffel Tower and other stuff around there and the venue was supposed to be in the Contemporary Gallery of Kunming. Was trying to spot that the other day for an exhibition already, but no map of mine had it. So I went into the vicinity an hour early, hired a moto rider to drive me there. Four lanes, only vehicle, tach maxed to 50km/h and of course: no helmet. (I don't think there are any, haven't seen a single solitary person wearing one now that I think of it). Cool ride anyhow. And of course Yours Truly, aka the Western Haggler Baron got a sweet "discount" again.

But no sign of the Arc de Triomphe or the gallery anywhere in sight. Asked a lot of people, policemen, security guards around to no avail. ): Really hope their music sucks, cause I feel that I've just missed out on a really great gig.

And now half of my journey is already behind me. It. Is. So. Unfathomable. Awesome. Over. Here. I'm having such a blast and I can't even believe I could do all of this one time over again, or what other experiences this country could have in store for me. My time in Yunnan got a bit slanted by the unusual, untimely rain, but nevertheless it's been tremendously great and beautiful around these parts. And I even got to accomplish Project Peacock way ahead of scheduled time. ;)

Tomorrow morning then I'll be boarding the bullet train up to Guiyang, capital of Guizhou. Watch me!

11919   |   中国 云南 photo city water lake sky cloud

The rain didn't even come and I was relieved to finally get some more hours of sweet shunshine. Western Hills Park then turned out to be another huge scenic area, some even dare call it the greatest in Central Yunnan. As I've learned to respect my knees I opted for a bus/cable car combi-ticket. Best choice, even more so when it got really, really warm and the path was several kilometres long and at times very steep. I love me a good cable car ride and this one was the best of my journey so far. It was a old trusty, open, metal bench carriage and took a good 15 minutes through and over densely forested mountains while the whole city was in view half of the time. 2400m a.s.l. I jumped out and took the walk all the way down again. The whole ordeal was nothing short of spectacular. I came by many small pavillions, shrines enclosed in the rock face, an insane abundance of subtropical flora on a winding, narrow path – at times carved directly out of the cliff – leading to awe inspiring vistas connected by tiny grottoes. I don't even …

11919   |   中国 云南 photo religion temple sculpture demon god

Initially I wanted to spend my last day in Yunnan by taking the train West to Dali, but because of the announced torrential rain I decided to ride the subway to its Western terminal called Western Hills Park, just to enjoy some nature as long as the weather would allow. Coincidentally there was also an exhibition hall that I read about earlier so without any second guessing I went in to experience Wheel of Life by Chinese artist Zhang Youkui and Kim Sunjin from South Korea. There were a lot of items shown through a very nice gallery and everything was completely made out of synthetic material.
This one's an excerpt of Nowhere to Go made by Zhang.

11919   |   中国 云南 photo sculpture human woman man plastic

Today was a bit weird. Shortly after the morning rain ceded I hit the city and shortly after got stopped by a group of students. They asked me if they could do a short video for their "very good and popular" QQ-or-whatever-channel with me. It was somehow connected to the apparently ongoing Mid-Autumn Festival. Sure thing!
Finally, my moment to go viral! ✌

11919   |   photo 中国 云南 human woman man hand

"We're not in Chengdu anymore!"

10919   |   中国 云南 photo city street human

Tissues and towels dried my shoes just enough to dive into the city this morning to seek out Huan Huan's shop Psycho Graphics. Took me some looking around alleys and a detour through the Yunnan Normal University campus to spot it, but it was closed. The nice couple in the equally infamous counter culture bookstore right next to it then proceeded to tell me it has closed down for good. :'( What a bummer, I was so looking forward to check out all that wild swag. Hope I can find something in the same vein in Guiyang or Xi'an later on.

Continued my random walk through the surrounding district and came upon this large wet market. Of course they offered a lot more than one could imagine and at the same time it didn't cross me as messy or smelly or anything in that direction at all.

Maybe a good opportunity for a fun fact: There's these huge posters everywhere entitled "Civilized Kunming". Thought that this was their slogan, but now I found out that it's actually about getting rewarded an official seal from the government. There's only three provincial capitals left that can't hold the title of being civilized, Kunming being one of them. From what I've caught on to so far it involves fighting triad crimes – you should see the posters encouraging that one, cleaning up the urban environment, banning fences and street vendors, guiding paths for the blind and apparently also closing down wet markets like this one.

10919   |   中国 云南 photo human food plant

After I arrived back from the Stone Forest and stepped off the Metro a thunderstorm hovered over the city and it began pouring cats and dogs. I was soaked to the bones within seconds and streams began running down the hilly streets of Kunming turning the last leg of the tour into a track and field run. Because my only pair of shoes turned to sponges and it rained the whole night through, I couldn't even go out to get some dinner. So I went down to the girls at the reception that don't speak a word of Engrish if I could order something to the hotel. They weren't into that idea for some reason, but could offer me a huge bucket of instant noodles from their own stash. Well, alright then :P

Today's weather was just about the same and the forecast says it's gonna continue that way all over South West China and even get worse. Guess I struck April in the City of Eternal Spring.

And writing of shoes … the guy from the skate shop told me I probably won't find any my size in the whole country.

10919   |   云南 中国 photo city building roof

Did I really forget to put up a pic from the Panda Breeding Center‽

10919   |   forest tree plant bear animal nature me_irl 四川 中国 photo

Astridone: Say whaaaaat?

Made it to Shilin county and spent the day at the scenic Stone Forest. It's one of the AAAAA Scenic Areas of China and it deserves that classification without any question! It rained and drizzled all of the time, but that didn't take away any of the tremendous beauty of the landscape. Can't even spell it out, just have a glimpse.

P.S.: Shout out to past-me for packing that rain cape I got back in '09 and only ever put to use once until now.

9919   |   photo 中国 云南 mountain rock plant tree forest