So I never made it out to the bamboo temple (takes a bit of work changing buses and ultimately takes at least 40 minutes if not an whole hour to get out there). So no surfing arhats.But the city itself has been really pleasant and I'd be happy just staying and wandering here. I've come to know a few people who are living at the hostel too and they've been really nice. Traveled a lot too so we've talked about our different impressions of different countries.
Speaking of impressions, I can't help noticing how there are police everywhere and now there's a truck stationed nearby the market I've been walking through frequently. I asked some of the others who are staying here if there's always been a lot of police and they said that it's been that way since they got here. Little police pods watching traffic all the time throughout the city. But I know about some of the terrible events that took place last year and I'm leaving from the very train station where they took place. I also received an email saying to remain aware of my surroundings in case anything happens during the new year period so that may contribute somewhat to my sensitivity to all the police. But I've felt very safe here and see why so many think they'd like to come back and work here in Kunming. Just as in Cuernavaca, "City of Eternal Spring" and my first chance to go abroad in high school, the sun is out and the flowers are blooming in February. It's beautiful, the air is pretty clear, the sky is blue, the streets are pretty clean...every now and again you run into a kid peeing on the street but I don't feel like I've had to look behind myself for advancing motor scooters quite as often as I do in Zhuzhou. I walked out to find Tian Fu Famous Teas and went along Dongfeng and Nanping Jie and found it to be a very different world from the relatively quiet Zhuan Tang park. Zhuan Tang has people dancing, fishing, sitting on couches by the lake, cleaning ears, and getting a shave. Nanping Jie feels more like a busy modern city with tall buildings, international supermarkets and fast food chains, brand name stores, and kids in teeny paddle boats in shallow pools where they're parents can observe them while grabbing a snack. You can find people participating in all kinds of activities in Green Lake (Cui Hu) park as well but there's more touristy merchandise and candy. And people selling bread for the birds.