A Universe of Disappointments

Thursday was to be a travel day between Shangri-la and Xi’an, with a stop over in Kunming to visit the Stone Forest (Shilin) in between flights. It was not to be.

Snowstorm in Shangri-la had us socked in at the airport for around 5 hours, leaving insufficient time to visit Shilin. Raining in Kunming so even the revised schedule of walking around and taking in the city fell by the wayside. However, the one bright light of the day was driving an hour each way into Kunming from the airport to savor Crossing Bridge Rice Noodles, the local specialty food.

This dish is a lovely array of tiny bits of stuff – meat, fish, veggies, mysteries, fat rice noodles and flavorings, that you add to a huge bowl of very hot chicken broth. All the tiny bits arrive on separate little plates, a very pleasing array of tasty bites. The best were the bright yellow chrysanthemum flower petals scattered across the top of the soup. An accompaniment was a portion of steamed chicken. Chopped chicken pieces with bones and black skin are steamed in a clay cooker with healing herbs. It created a very savory broth and delicious chicken. I just wish Chinese chicken was easier to eat. Dealing with all those tiny bones and bone bits is challenging, even using fingers instead of chop sticks.

Raining again while we ran back to the airport with four hours to kill before our flight. Julia was concerned about the flight not showing on the departures board and we spent a lot of time tracking down the details of how to confirm and finally confirming that our flight actually existed. During our great wandering we found a restaurant that served beer so we shared a Tsingtao. I broke down for the first time on the trip and succumbed to ice cream – almost. A luscious glass of coconut shaved ice.

After check in and security we went to the waiting hall to spend the 2 hours still to go to our flight. The waiting hall turned out to be a refrigerator, literally. By the time our flight left, we could see our breath condensing in the cold. And to top off the flight full of popsicle Chinese and 2 white people, our 22:00 flight to Xi’an was delayed almost another hour. So we arrived at our hotel at 2:00 after having been on the road since 7:30 the previous day.

Final crushing blow: There is no Wifi in the hotel or anywhere nearby. So I can’t call home. ( I wonder if this Universal payback for not taking our scheduled rest day on Monday?? )


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