Kunming is the capital of Yunnan Province in the far southwest of China. It has a population of 3 million.
Shopping: You can buy: vellum, survey tapes (B+Q has 30m reels for 65Y, and50m for 105Y. The 30m is a bad design), topo maps, AA batteries, mechanical pencils, wellies, graph paper, oreos, coffee, english language books, contact lens solution, slide mounts, diskettes, cheap CDs. You can't buy (easily): a decent salad sandwich, Christmas pudding, spare parts/accessories for a Psion.
Shilin (Stone Forest)
Limestone towers in odd shapes, plus a few caves.
Kunhu: A short walk north of the train station, this guesthouse isn't as cheap as it used to be. It's a bit grim.
Lianhua Zhaodaisuo: Friendly guesthouse near the Yunnan Institute of Geography. From the Institute go west to the first traffic light, then turn left and head south for 50m. Lianhua is on the left, and it doesn't have any signage in english. We've paid 40Y for an ensuite double room, 15Y for a tiny single without bath, and 20Y for a slightly bigger single with two people (one on the floor). The hot water is tempramental, but the owners are friendly and they usually let us do laundry for free.
The main Bank of China on Beijing Lu can cash travellers cheques. There are also 2 ATMs there that accept foreign cards. The machines are often broken.
Film is overpriced, but there's a good selection at the Kodak shop on Bejing Lu near the Square. They can develop slides same-day (18Y) and scan them in 3 (0.5Y per slide plus 20Y for the CD). I've had varying results with this place. Usually they're very good, but most recently my negatives were returned terribly scratched. I'm not sure if this occured during developing or scanning. The shop also carries slide mounts (100 for 50 to 85Y).
Don't pay more than 3Y an hour. Most net bars stay open to the wee hours or all night. From mid-afternoon to midnight they're likely to be crowded with adolescents playing computer games. On Beijing Lu there's a net bar in the movie theater complex north of the Kunhu hotel (on the E side of the street).
It takes 3 days to get a visa extension and they cost 125Y. The office has recently relocated to Renmin Lu?? where there's a big government services building.
The branch on Beijing Lu does EMS, which is China's version of FedEx or UPS. It's pricy. To send 1.5 kg to the states insured for 600 USD ran 400Y?
City maps have the bus routes marked.
Cao: Secretary of the LEECH Explorer Club in kunming. She speaks good English.
Ji Xueping: Archeologist at the Yunnan Cultural Relics and Archaeology Institute. He's done work in caves near Lijiang and Baoshan. Wants us to map a cave in his hometown in the northeast of Yunnan.