The Stone Forest

The 55-hour train ride from the NE capital of Beijing to the SW city of Kunming was, in one word, brutal. I was traveling through China with a fellow teacher-friend named David. He and I both taught English in Kyoto, and met on the boat ride over from Japan. On the crowded train to Kunming, he and I were the only non-Oriental's aboard, so we were constantly being checked-out by curiosity seekers. Misery had a lot of company. Factor in the disgusting Chinese habit of spitting and throwing garbage on the floor, blaring loudspeakers in the middle of the night, and you had two miserable commuters.

Bizarre and picturesque rock formations scatter the landscape.

When we arrived in Kunming, David and I eagerly wanted to get as far away from Chinese people as possible, even if only for a little while. We caught a bus out to the fabled Stone Forest for a hike and some fresh air. The landscape was amazing, so we broke from the tour bus to do our own freestyle Stomp.

Tourist Ghetto -- The Stone Forest proper.

Making our way into the over-rated Stone Forest proper, we found ourselves again the center of much attention from the multitude of Chinese tourists. We missed the tourist bus back to Kunming and had to take the local bus. Guess what? A blaring loudspeaker, with chicken bones & goober on the floor, and obnoxious locals bugging us the whole way back.

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