Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A Trip To Kunming, China

Kunming was a crisp 8 or so degrees centigrade when we landed at 4.40 in the afternoon on 23rd December 2012. It is known as the Spring City because of it's mild climate - not too cold in the winter, neither is it too hot in the summer, most probably due to it's location in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau at an altitude of 1,900 m above sea level and at a latitude just north of the Tropic of Cancer.

So I slipped on my decades-old springtime jacket before we went through Chinese immigrations where you had to stand in-front of an online camera which displays your face on a monitor alongside your passport photograph, and then you go into shock seeing how old our Malaysian passport office had made you look in the scanned photo and even the immigration officer was momentarily confused, probably thinking I might be using my mother's passport instead...

We were met at the airport lobby by Henry Yang (suggested to dear hubby to just call him Henry and not Yang so I won't get confused), our guide whom we had engaged via the internet for this trip. Before long we were in a van bound for the city and the Home Inn, our crashpad for the next three nights.
The first evening, we explored the area around the hotel which is in a bustling commercial district, and if not for the temperature which had plummeted somewhat after sunset, you can be forgiven for thinking you're in Bukit Bintang or Petaling Street.

We spotted a Muslim eatery with halal endorsement certificates on the wall, and there we had our first Chinese meal of a small roast duck (tasted so much better than the one we had here in the Chinese Muslim restaurant in USJ near the Al-Falah mosque), plus a broth made with free-range chicken, and my must-have stir-fried greens, and delicious stir-fried juliened brinjals.

Muslim food is easy to find especially in the old Muslim quarter. We had our second dinner at a well-known chain which served up especially hot and spicy fare more to our taste, and the third night more of the same at another place. If I can only read Chinese I would be able to note their names... and I can tell you the chillies were really fiery at these places.

Actually there's a sizeable Muslim population in Kunming City. There used to be a Muslim quarter in downtown Kunming but the area had to make way for the development of new infrastructure etc, thus many of the residents were relocated elsewhere. Nevertheless two mosque complexes within walking distance of one another are still there and in active use. We stopped for solat at one of them, the Yunning mosque, and after had delicious hawker-style noodles soup at their food-court.

The other mosque is the Nancheng mosque, the main mosque of Kunming.
It's so heartening to see Islam alive even after much trials and tribulations in China since it first arrived during the Tang Dynasty circa (600-900AD)
(to be continued)


Al-Manar said...

How nice to be there and I am full of envy. So we have to wish you a happy Chinese new year.

Pak Idrus said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story of an adventure in the golden years.

Have a nice day.

Zendra-Maria said...

Salam Pakcik Hassan,

Thanks for the thoughtful wish. I hope it's not too late to wish you a happy monsoon new year.

Zendra-Maria said...

Salam Pak Idrus,

It was a good trip but a little short due to the sponsor's work commitments. Only when he's well and truly retired, shall we be able to go for longer spells.

And happy new year to you too.

Ummi said...

salam.boleh tahu nama hotel di Kunming ?tx

Ummi said...

salam.boleh tahu nama hotel di Kunming ?tx

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