Day 2 Kunming-A lot of faffing

Trip Start Mar 23, 2012
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Saturday, March 24, 2012

Our first proper day in China was spent in Kunming's shopping district, not very cultural we know but unfortunately it was necessary. The day didn't get off to the greatest of starts as we'd failed to change the time on the iphone and we managed to sleep through all of the alarms anyway, resulting in a midday shower and pack rush. Our main priority was buying sleeper train tickets for that same night. We'd written down in Chinese the destination, the time and the date hoping that it be enough but we still managed to confuse the poor girl working there. After a lot of pointing and hand gestures we surprisingly managed to get (hard) sleeper tickets despite the short notice. We still had plenty more errands but we couldn't get any of them done until we found an ATM that would accept any of our cards. It took about an hour until we finally found one, but we still had 20 worth of Vietnamese Dong to get rid of. None of the banks would take it and we were considering giving up when we started getting hassled by a Chinese woman outside the Bank of China offering to exchange it. We communicated via calculater and she was trying to rip us off big time so we used the 'treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen' tactic and we eventually got a better deal. 
We thought that buying warm clothes and proper shoes for the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek would be relatively easy but alas, no, nothing is easy in China. Chris had his heart set on Nike trainers, which even the dullest ones were 70 so that soon went out the window. We had to make do with a Chinese line of sportswear which although not that aesthetically pleasing, was reasonably priced. And although I don't particularly want to admit this, I had to resort to buying trainers from the mens section. It's not my fault that the Chinese are tiny, with teeny-tiny feet. 

With all of the pain and suffering that came with shopping in China on a Saturday, there also came our first chance to try proper Chinese food, and it was gooood. 
I would like to take the time to congratulate China on it's train stations, bravo! They're pretty fancy. We shared a taxi to the train station with a Dutch couple from our hostel and then we went our separate ways to our trains. The hard sleeper wasn't too shabby, especially compared to Vietnam's. The beds could've been softer and squatters are always a pain on moving forms of transport but at least there wasn't any karaoke playing and the spitting was kept to a minimum.
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