Exploring – Kunming, Yunnan part 2

11 Dec

This is about the second part of my day exploring in Kunming.  For details about Xi Shan, please check out the previous post.

The Kunming Cultural Ethnic Minority Town was a unique experience. It was kind of like a low grade Epcot center, where they combined the traditional housing/villages of 25 different ethnic minority groups who come from all over China. It was almost deserted by the time I arrived around 2pm and all of the actors in the park looked very, very bored. I got invited to sit down and talk by pretty much every performer I saw.

The park was enormous – walking around was pretty tiring. I imagine if there were lots of tourists there and other activities it would have been a fun place to spend an afternoon, but I had already been on my feet most of the day and very few of the signs were in English.  Perhaps that is why Chinese tourists do not travel alone. However, when I had bought my ticket they had said that I could also go to the “BIG SHOW” at 3pm, so I made my way to the amphitheater – which likely easily could have sat 2000 people and found a seat towards the center.

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The show was a spectacular. There were likely over 150 performers throughout, dancing, singing and re-enacting different cultural dances and traditions. It was a snapshot of the cultures that are fast disappearing throughout China and also an affirmation that despite the single face of China – the Han people who are the overwhelming majority – China has a lot of cultural diversity, if they choose to celebrate it. I fear that most of the performers really don’t know the traditions they are celebrating – the skeptical side of me wonders if these dances occur anymore, but the optimist in me hopes that they are now preserved for future generations to view and remember and morph into new traditions.

After the show, I was ready to head back and put my feet up. I hailed a “black cab” with a very nice driver who skillfully battled rush hour traffic and got me back to the hotel in no time. A good, yet slightly strange day which finished my trip to Yunnan.

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