So today I decided to get out and explore Kunming and see some of the sights, with the first thing on my list being the Great Mosque. After a good breakfast of dumplings and fried bread I set off walking but what I found doesn't really deserve the title of "Great" as it looked pretty manky from the outside; an old-ish (like 40 years old) crumbling concrete building that was completely devoid of any colour bar the drab grey of the concrete. Visitors weren't allowed inside either so rather than stand around 'admiring' it for any longer I set off walking again in the direction of the Yunnan Provincial Museum.
On my way there I stumbled upon a market down a long alleyway which was doing a roaring trade. They sold a whole range of different things, from jade bracelets & statues to animals of varying types, including tortoises, possums and black squirrels, one of which was bouncing around in his cage obviously not wanting to be in there. You could also buy birds in every colour of the rainbow, multiple different types of Chinese flute type instruments, dried fruit and nuts, one of a kind pieces of art and even nunchucks, knives and binoculars. I resisted the urge to buy a flute even though the sound that they can produce if one knows how to play it correctly is simply sublime. Unfortunately I don't have any space in my bag, even for a flute and I have a habit of buying musical instruments and never learning to play them, such as the harmonica that I've carried around with me for the duration of my travels. I'll learn to play it one of these days, honest!
After having a look around the market I found a park and sat down to relax and people watch for a while. (read: get watched by people - the staring is still a bit un-nerving) I then made my way across to the museum and spent an enjoyable hour or so walking around the collection of Bronze, pottery & laquered wood artefacts that they have. They all tended to range from 25BC to 300AD and how a piece of laquered wood could survive until the present day and still look in perfect condition is beyond me. In fact, a few of the artefacts seemed a bit too good to be true and so I think that a few of them may actually have been modern day reproductions instead but they were still nice to look at. After spending a whlie looking around I left and walked back to the hostel and rested my feet for a bit before heading out to the East & West pagodas.
Both of the pagodas were quite impressive as they were huge structures which were set in gardens full of people drinking tea and chatting, playing Chinese chess, cards or mahjong, or simply sat having a rest. It didn't take very long to look around the pagodas so I then went to a noodle place and got sweet potato noodles with beef in brown sauce (not the HP variety) for my tea which were very nice and cheap to boot!
Once I had eaten my fill I returned to the hostel and it was pretty cold so I got in bed and stayed there researching Vietnam until it was time to go to sleep.