With the return of our nanny after her week's holiday, Jiajia and I decided to get away for a few days before starting work once again. A newly opened line of track now links Kunming to Mengzi - a town where I lived and worked for a year with V.S.O. back in 1996. So, we took the early train this morning for a busy but fairly pleasant four hour journey through towns, countryside and tunnels. The train terminates at a station some 14km from the actual town (the line is due to be completed by the end of the year) and is, rather bizarrely, situated atop a hill, so you have to climb down 200 steps to get to the road where buses/taxis will complete the journey for you
Mengzi itself has seen huge expansion since I lived there. A vast new development to the west has increased the size of the town fourfold. It's not a town anymore - it's a city. I used to take a horse and cart from the College where I worked to the main shopping street. Now there are flashy public buses connecting you to shopping malls and enormous government buildings. On arrival we found a great hotel; clean, quiet, friendly and only 220RMB (£22) a night, including breakfast. Ten minutes walk from the lake and the old town. We'll explore them tomorrow.
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