Into China again!
10.09.2011 - 30.09.2011
A dragon air flight was taking me into Kunming. I was a little nervous about the amount of luggage I had (2 big bags and my smaller carry on) as I approached the counter. The young girl was nice though and gave me a warning "Next time make sure you have less than 20kg" (my total bag weight was more like 32kg!) and then let all my bags on the flight free of charge. Sweet! She also spied my "small carry on bag" was a little weighty (13kg!), so she got me to weigh it. After saying its too heavy, she asked if I had a laptop in it, which I did. Removing it took the weight down to 10kg which she then said "OK, no problem!" because a laptop is a "free item". I aren't complaining!
Having never travelled by plane into Kunming, I had never been to the airport. Regardless, I knew what to expect and wasn't disappointed!
Air transport through China is (luckily for the environment!) not the preferred method of travel for Chinese people (or me). And I can understand why with all the security checks, arriving about 2 hours before you a supposed to fly, the not so comfortable act of flying... I can totally relate. As such though some of their airports seem to be an afterthought. Kunming's airport is no different! Straight from the 70's (though probably in reality the 90's, this is China!) the airport looms - a sprawling set of buildings in the distance. Yuck! Kunming is getting a new airport soon though so I can understand the lack of maintenance that makes it look bland and dreary. Off the plane and through customs I went to the baggage lines. Peeping through into the arrivals I saw my girlfriend waiting for me with a huge crowd of people (she had pushed to the front and was using her elbows to good effect to ensure she stayed there!). What a happy sight!
I grabbed my bags and headed out to a warm long overdue hug. So glad to be back here! My girlfriend is a cheeky, witty, wise beyond her years, hard worker who is as happy to see me as I am her.
We grabbed a taxi and after some discussions piled everything in and headed to my girlfriends apartment in the North West of the city.
Over the next few days we hung out getting to know each other again, had dinner with her mum and I got used to China and Kunming again. I will be relying on Chen Min for a while until my Chinese becomes better and I get more grounded with where I am again.
After a week of settling in, its time to start studying. I contacted my old lao shi (teacher) and we organised classes for 3 times a week. Hopefully enough to kick start my Chinese! I want to learn characters as well so we will see how I go!
I also set to downloading all the materials I need for my computer study. Now for the hard part, the actual studying! After a couple of weeks, I am back into it!
The rugby world cup is on in New Zealand - it started a couple of days after I left. Luckily for me, there is a small community of NZ/Aussies that have organised to see it at some local pubs. One close to my home has most games streamed - its a place called Samoana - a Samoan themed cafe run by Samoans from Avondale in Auckland! I suspect I will be a regular of this place...
My girlfriend and I have also organised a trip to Lijiang, further west past Dali for the Chinese national holiday week in October. I can't wait! That will probably be my next blog so stay tuned...