Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bill Gates embraces Twitter!

I thought this was only a rumor but it has been verified. Bill Gates has a twitter account. It's a shame Twitter isn't a publicly traded company or I would have purchased a boat load of their stock.

Click here for to see his tweets.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kunming and Lijiang, Yunnan, China

I spent the last two weeks of December in China. Lacey and I went on a 5 day tour of Kunming and Lijiang in Yunnan Province.

Day 1: Kunming
Aside from the delicious food, there wasn't much to do in Kunming. The hot spots are over 2 hours away and we had no transportation.
Back to the food. We went to a nearby noodle shop for lunch. Rice noodles are very popular in the region and you can get it with different fixings.

Note the color of my soup. Lunch cost roughly 19 yuan.

After the delicious lunch, we strolled around Daguan Park. I'm glad I brought a jacket. I can get by with just wearing a long sleeve shirt but I needed a jacket in the shade. There's a number of interesting sculptures around the park.

By the ponds and stream we purchased a loaf of bread for 1 yuan to feed the birds.

After a tiring day, we decided to get a massage before dinner. This was the first time I had a Thai massage. We felt so drained of energy afterward that we slept for over an hour at the massage parlor. By the time we left, 9 pm, all the shops were closing. We skipped dinner and went back to the hotel.

Day 2: Lijiang
Our tour guide took us to this older district to stroll and and shop. There's not much of these districts left. An earthquake 20 years ago destroyed many of the buildings and most of what we saw in town are new construction but with a historic decor.

Lacey found us this quaint 4 star hotel at the southern part of the city, Wang Fu Hotel of Lijian. It's not the best in the area but there's plenty of shops to browse in the neighborhood.

None of the places we visited or dined at had heating. It gets very cold at night and the hot dish you ordered will chill in mere minutes.

Day 3: Lijiang
Today was the best part of the trip. I love national parks and we went to see a glacier. Lacey and I took a cable car to the top of the mountain.
After a few flights of stairs, we reached the top of the viewing platform that sits 4680 meters above sea level. Lacey had a difficult time acclimating to the high elevation. I got her a oxygen canister for 40 yuan.
There are some beautiful sights to visit at the foot of the mountain as well.
We didn't eat lunch that day so we had an early dinner instead. I was too hungry by then and forgot to take pictures of the food.

After dinner, we went to Black Dragon Pool, a park, to walk around.
In the evening, we went to see a local performance about some of their minority groups. It's nothing to write home about and I won't recommend it.

Day 4: Lijiang
On our 2 hour ride to Tiger Leaping Gorge Harbour, we stopped by some place with a beautiful view of the mountains. They had pet primates to for us to feed.

I have no idea why they consider this place a tourist destination. You walk 15 minutes along the rapids to see more rapids. It felt colder here than on top of the snow top mountain. To make matters worse, I dropped my camera twice and it bent the lens casing. I can still use the camera but I need to manually adjust it during power-on.
Lunch was interesting. We went to a nearby restaurant and we were the only patrons. Since we were the only patron and wanted to eat chicken, we had to order a whole chicken. Half of it went to soup. The other half went to some dish. This was my first time seeing how they kill, clean, and prep a chicken.
On the way back to the city, we stopped by this lake where we can ride the local horses. Unfortunately, I didn't bring enough cash and we had to be careful with our expense. So Lacey rode the horse and I took pictures. She thinks the guide was trying to scare her out of her wits. This park is operated by the Naxi people.

Day 5: Lijiang
On our last day, we walked around the areas around the hotel some more before heading to the airport.

Overall, I had a great time. I didn't get a chance to visit Shangri-la so I have a reason to come back to this region. Next time, I'll be sure to bring a lot more cash. My biggest expenses were the admission tickets, tour guide, and massages.