post by Dawn– We are in Kunming, and have been for a few days.  Finally found an internet cafe.  (How do you say internet cafe in Chinese, and then follow directions to find it?)  And then they are only supposed to rent you with an official Chinese id.  Anyway, we are here, waiting for our Vietnam visa’s, which actually should be ready later today.  We are then planning to fly to Guilin tomorrow, and spend Christmas in Yangshuo south of there.  That is the part of China with those beautiful sandstone karst pinnacles along the river.  It is supposed to be cold and rainy (hi 40’s), but we rented a really nice place, that actually has heat.  It will be nice I think. 
Kunming is a big city, 5 million people.  We’ve been seeing the sites. Nice city park called Green Lake, where families go, and a huge Buddhists temple, with many nuns chanting.  Yesterday went out to the Xishan Park, with something known as Dragon’s Gate.  Basically, this is a mountain that rised right up out of the lake.  And there are Chinese temples and pavilions carved into the side of these 1000ft high rock walls.  And stairways; very steep; they even go through caves in places. Stairmaster, ancient Chinese style. The original structures date from the 16th century.  Very spectacular.  Spent about 90 minutes each way on city buses, so we got to see a lot of the city neighborhoods.
Saturday night we went to a big dance production called “Dynamic Yunnan,”  which is a big show/dance medley, featuring the native costumes, dances and songs of the different ethnic minorities from this part of China.  Sort of a “River Dance” kind of production, for tourists.  We hadn’t gone to anything like this, but it was quite spectacular, with great sound and choreography.  The drumming numbers were great, as well as another with a beautiful slender woman dancing in sillhouette in front of a full moon.  We enjoyed it.

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