You start to believe that Kunming is no longer a "poor Chinese city" when you see someone pulling up to the city's first, and newly opened, Starbucks in a stretch limousine [see photo]. But then, seconds later, you spot an old and filthy lady carrying a 2m high pile of rubbish on the back of her tricycle. It's certainly a place of vivid contrasts. At least my school tries its best to balance these extremes a little; charging high prices for "VIP one-to-one lessons" to those that can afford it, whilst offering free training to English teachers in poor schools on the outskirts of the city.
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