Kunming: Calm, Cool, and Collected
Trip Start Jul 28, 2007
35Trip End Ongoing
Kunming is calm, cool, and collected. The weather is mild and comfortable. The people here are laid back and in no rush. There is no police presence. In contrast to many other large Chinese cities, Kunming is not crowded, loud, chaotic, or overly polluted. Instead of the bicycles of Beijing or the loud, motor scooters of Taipei, the locals here cruise around on silent, electric scooters. Buildings and streets are well-maintained. There are lots of nicely-groomed gardens and colorful flowers and trees around, including palms and bamboo
Kunming is not overtly touristy. There is a trendy western presence here that blends in well with a trendy Chinese presence. There is no Starbucks. Around the university, students and backpackers sit outside in locally-owned cafes and savor coffee grown in the surrounding Yunnan province. But not before 9am, when the shops and restaurants first open, and not after 10pm when the city goes to bed.
Kunming has nothing to prove and no chip on its shoulder. It's just a cool city in China that welcomes, but does not overwhelm, its visitors. I am here for work, checking out our new study abroad program at Yunnan University. It has been an absolute pleasure to be here.