Thursday, January 9, 2014

Into the Wild

The countryside here is refreshingly wild and dramatic after the flat green farmland around Wuhan (not that I see the countryside much anyhow; I should say the flat shopping malls around Wuhan). 
Along the road heading south out of Kunming the hills are rocky and barren, red dirt exposed, here and there dotted with scrub brush.  The trees in the valleys are tall thin cypress that make me homesick for Italy, although dustier and more wind-blown than any I remember there.  In fact, for a moment the landscape reminded me a bit of Tuscany, except there the hills are golden age grass, not orange-red dirt, but the moment passed. 

The buildings, painted in oranges and tans, blend into the landscape, except for the long, low greenhouses, covered in plastic sheeting that glints in the sun, that are crowded into every flat place, struggling to feed the millions in Kunming.

Higher mountains line the distance to the east; I look forward to edging closer as we veer southeast; few things give me the euphoria I feel in the mountains. 

Occasionally I get glimpses out the right side of the bus of Dian Chi, the forty-kilometer long lake whose north shore wraps around Kunming.  The attached pictures aren't very good, but that's the best I could get.  I have an aisle seat and the windows are darkly tinted, and dirty besides, so don't expect any great photography from this particular leg of the journey. 

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