China – Kunming, way to Dali

All seems Chinese to us!, Day 262-269

We land in the middle of the night in Kunming. Everything seems Chinese to us! Fortunately, we experience a great readiness for help of the Chinese here. We are even spontaneously invited by Chinese Anderson for dinner and introduced to the Chinese language. We are overwhelmed. Organizing the SIM card proves to be very difficult. Everywhere we are sent away again. The area where we stay, is very Muslim influenced and so we find our beloved dates at a shop in front of the mosque. The next day at lunch we meet the Pakistan students. They invite us to their home. We have exciting conversations with many good tips for helpful apps. In China, Google, Whatsapp and Facebook are blocked. Installing VPN’s proves to be very difficult, only ExpressVPN works really well. We enjoy the fine tea and the Pakistani dinner. With their help, it is a piece of cake at the university to get the SIM card. This big and warm hospitality touches us a lot! Even the taxi costs back to our hotel are paid!

Well packed in the warm cycling clothes, which we had to dig out of the deep of our bags, we cycle towards Dali. Unfortunately, this stage is not so nice, as it is a larger road with moderate traffic. We are all the more pleased to enjoy the first hotpot at noon. In the evening we find a great, cheap hotel in the small village. For dinner we are even presented with vegetables from the garden.

With these pleasant temperatures, we can take it slowly in the morning. The area is very nice now. First, the little-used road leads along a river. Then there are many terrace fields, which are planted with different vegetables and on which is worked efficiently by hand. It is also longer light until half past eight and so we camp with beautiful views and our flashlights come late into operation.

As far as Lucheng, we are struggling with headwinds, with dusty roads, with many trucks and with a six-lane road, luckily not too busy. The highlight of the day is the old town in Lucheng. In the evening, the strong wind and thunderclouds keep us from camping.

The next morning we drive finally again a nice pass with a pleasant climb. At lunchtime we stop at a small restaurant. We simply point to the dishes of the other guests. Mostly in the restaurants there are big refrigerators with a glass wall. Then we point to the vegetables we want to have and are then looking forward to what is served. As in Thailand, we have to say explicitly that we do not want MSG, sugar or soy sauce, because that’s the only way our stomaches do not rumble. The strong wind keeps us from tents this evening. We are looking for a hotel, which is not easy with the Chinese characters! But we managed to find one.

Total distance: 419.74 km
Max elevation: 2454 m
Min elevation: 1478 m
Total climbing: 4173 m
Total descent: -3900 m

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