The buzz in Kunming at the moment is about a "UFO" spotted by hundreds of people the other night [see photo]. Rumours have been flying around (...as has the "UFO") but the truth seems to be that it was a secret military launch from the space centre 400km north of Kunming, testing a new satellite-destroying missile. Almost as intriguing as the thought of aliens!
More UFO activity reported in the outskirts of Kunming with three black dots hovering above the Songhua dam (the largest one circled here). The man who took the photo is reported as saying, "In the photo it looks like a butterfly", so I'm wondering if it was, perhaps, just a butterfly! However Zhang Yifang, the President of the Kunming UFO Research Society (yes, there is one) is quoted as saying, "It has the saucer-like shape of a UFO. I believe it is a UFO". So I guess it must be true!
And here's is my own UFO picture, taken last week. It just looks like a dot in the photo, but seeemed bigger with the naked eye. It was hovering for a while and then started to rise gently upwards. A little bit of computer magnification back home and I think I can see some sort of smoke trail from the bottom of the circle shape. Was it making a desperate attempt to gain altitude, or was something leaking from the engine? Hard to say.
I've had aliens on my mind recently! The subject cropped up twice in school textbooks last week, leading to some fascinating tales from students of strange lights and shapes which they, or their friend or family member, have seen. I am also watching the latest seasons of Fringe and The Event on CD these days, which are full of strange goings on. And my (Chinese) friend Emily sent me these photos recently. She went on an trip to see the famous rapeseed fields near Kunming but, when her photos were developed, she noticed a lot of flying objects that she hadn't spotted at the time. She thinks they might have been birds but, on magnification, I'm not so sure. In my experience, birds tend to flock together, and aren't oval-shaped!
A Chinese teacher from my school showed me these photos last week and swears they are genuine. Taken on a phone camera from a plane window on a recent flight, he says there was a bright light below the plane, but above the clouds, which seemed to be tracking the plane. After a while it fly up above the plane, looking a lot less bright and more metallic, before shooting up out of sight. The photos look pretty impressive.
Jianshui (pron: jen shway) is a small, well-preserved town about a 4 hour bus ride from Kunming. I last went there some 13 years ago, but only to visit teachers I was training at one of their schools. I also passed through the town about 2 years ago en route to the YuanYang Rice Terraces. I saw this gate (on a roundabout) then and decided to return and explore the old town sometime. So Jiajia and I headed there today.
Jianshui's two claims to fame are it's "chaodofu" (smelly tofu) and the Confucius Temple (one of the largest in China). I'm not a big fan of the former, but the Temple was very impressive - large, active and very well-kept (if expensive, at 60RMB or £6 a ticket). It also helped to be there on a warm and sunny day.
The highlight for me, though, was spotting this UFO hovering above the temple. It was a pinprick spot [see red circle] but, when I zoomed in on it with my camera, an odd and fascinating shape was revealed. Not very "aeroplane" or "balloon"! It stayed in the sky for some minutes, but when Jiajia and I glanced back after chatting about it, the object had completely disappeared. Very spooky.
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