This is typical Chinese parking. Drive down the middle of the road, spot some dumplings for sale, and just stop. Nobody can get past you. And the amazing thing is that other drivers just patiently wait for the car to move again, once the driver has bought his snack and wandered back!
A really mixed day today. Jiajia, JD and I visited the Bamboo Temple with a friend of ours - Du Laoshi - a 40 minute drive up a mountain on the outskirts of Kunming. We had a good look around, including the famous 500 detailed statues of monks in various poses there. Then we joined the monks and worshippers for a vegetarian lunch.
Thankfully, JD only suffered scratches and bruises and was keen to keep on. The rest of us, including the driver, were a lot more shocked, and we decided to head back to the temple and the car. JD said the gods kept him safe because he'd donated a few yuan to them in the temple. I'm wondering whether they arranged the crash because of the meagre cash amount
But, after a rest and a thorough check-up, we did drive on to the park and JD enjoyed a few hours of fishing (including catching a 20cm long shrimp and nearly catching a yellow garter snake).
After returning to Kunming, we found a car wash for which Jiajia had a free ticket, and enjoyed a large dumping meal while the car was cleaned inside and out. A day of ups, downs, acrosses, insides and outs.
This is our new car - an Audi A6L. Well, it's not brand new, but it is new to us. It actually has a higher mileage than the car we've had for the last 15 years but it's ten years younger which means it can pass the emissions test each year and, hopefully, has less rusty bodywork! Plus it has a bunch of features such as sat nav, reversing sensors, powered steering and a working stereo system! It should last us for our remaining time in China.
Electric bikes are a huge part of life in Kunming. If I had to drive JD to school each morning by car it would take over 40 minutes, with many traffic jams on the way. By e-bike, it's 15 minutes. So it's alarming that the local government have recently announced that e-bikes will be phased out over the next 3-4 years. The car traffic, and associated pollution, will surely increase as a result. Crazy.
However, the downside of scooters is, of course, the safety factor. Although I've been driving one for five years without major incident, we were confronted with the reality of the danger a couple of days ago when an e-bike, speeding past us in a bus lane, lost control and crashed into our car. He wasn't wearing a helmet and suffered a bleeding head wound and bruising. Thankfully, nothing worse. In China, the law says that the "larger" of any two vehicles in a collision is automatically at fault, regardless of the actions or situation. Fortunately for us, though, the injured e-biker immediately insisted it was all his fault and even offered to pay for the repair of our car's dent. We declined that offer but were mightily relieved to see him driving away. It could have been a whole lot worse.
Past blog entries