Asia | China | Yunnan Province | Kunming – The Deer Hunter
We did the touristy things during the day, visiting Xishan Mountain and the World Horticulture Exhibition during the day. Both were tourist traps, but the highest part of Xishan does offer some nice scenery in a field of karst formation visited only by local herders’ goats.
The highlight of the day again came at night. We went to a bar called Deer Hunter, decorated with deer heads the owner had acquired during his trips to Tibet and almost looked like an Alaskan cabin. The owner is among the adventure travel pioneers in western China, and founder of a climbing club called Shangri-la. He had visited Tibet at least four times, once so stranded that he almost begged his way back to KM. With his long goatee, American GI outfit, belly and knife hanging over his belt, and loud voice that vibrated in the room when he talked, he almost looked like he did not belong to the gentle and laid-back Kunming.
He and Wang Rui struck up a conversation right away since both were outdoor enthusiasts, and I was content being a listener on the development of adventure travel in China and his views on Yunnan’s tourism industry. Thinking back to my sore feet after climbing Chicken-Foot Mountain, I was a little embarassed by his comment ‘Chicken-Foot Mountain has been turned into such a tourist trap that going to a barbecue stall is more fun’. Nevertheless, I left fascinated by the growing number of facets KM has acquired and excited that travelling to many Chinese no longer meant being taken to a ‘scenic spot’ on a luxurious tour bus for a couple quick photo snaps.