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Report 2 - September 9, 1999

A few more words on the reconstruction of Kunming... well, Chinese are known for being hard-workers, but this is beyond imagination: in a building near University, they usually work from around 7 in the morning to midnight. This is already quite amazing, but some nights they just NEVER stop working! There they are, drilling and hammering at 4 am. So why didn't they tear down yet a tiny row of old houses at the feet of their new building? The reason is they sleep there. From the broken glasses of the windows you can actually see tens of workers taking their break under mosquito nets and wet clothes drying all across the rooms.

A CD and VCD shop in Kunming
And now a short note on another ability of nowadays Chinese... the fake CD industry. Kunming hosts hundreds of small CD and VCD shops; both cost from 7 to 12 yuan each (8 yuan make 1 US$). How this is possible, we can hardly figure out, but we happened to spend an evening in a bar and see the owner of the local CD monopoly, a 40-something Chinese with hair down to his waist - surprisingly not the typical mafious in black suit you always see out at night. Well, thank to him you can buy all the CDs you want for nothing, and they don't sound too bad after all. As for VCDs, they seem to lack in quality, but you have the chance to see movies that have just come out in the theatres. Note that one of these shops is right in front of a paichusuo (a police station)...
As for Kunming's beauty, it's still visible between a building and the other... the rain season is over and the sun has come out, shining bright on this 2000 meter high plateau. We'll talk in detail about the Flowers and Birds market, the Yuantong Buddhist temple and the Daguan park on lake Dian in the next updates.


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