February 01, 2007

Stone Forest and Ethnic Minorities...
I went to the Stone Forest today, about 120KM southwest of Kunming. Kunming as the "Spring City" because the weather is warm but not hot all year round, but today it was snowing and rather chilly. The forest was quite cool, with lots of interesting rock formations.
Yunnan is the province in China with the most non-Han ethnic groups, which make s for an interesting mix of people. I visited the Yunnan Ethnic Museum in the far south of Kunming, which was an excellent museum often overlooked. They had samples of the various traditional ethnic costumes, information about their traditional practices and housing, etc. They even had a great exhibit about texts written in the various non-Han languages. I tried some Dai food at a small restaurant, which was pretty good. The Dai live close to the Laos/Myanmar border, so their food and written language is heavily influenced by that region. I tried the chicken and sour bamboo shoots, and a type of sweet, sticky rice cooked in bamboo leaves.
Tomorrow night I've got a hard sleeper to Nanning, and from there I'll try to get to Yangshuo (southwest of Guilin) by Saturday evening.

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