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British teacher Sam encounters "strange" Kunming

By : InKunming | Published: 2016-10-08

Sam enjoys a cup of coffee in his spare time. [Provided to InKunming]

[InKunming--Kunming]  Sam, a British teacher, first came to Kunming in 1996 to teach English in Kunming Teachers’ College. During his first visit to Kunming, everything of the city seemed strange to him, such as foods, weather and the tangle of streets.

He came back to London in 1998, and met with Kunming again to teach English in Yunnan University in 2013. Having living nearly five years in Kunming, Sam has gotten along well with everything here now. The key point is that his love towards Kunming is just like a gushing river murmuring by.

Water Pipe

Sam has heard of Kunming before. By taking the opportunity of teaching in Kunming Teachers’ College, he eventually stepped up this mystery red-land. He found that plenty of strange things decorated with this city. The strangest point was water pipe (also called hookah).

“I saw an old man sitting on a small chair holding one-meter-long bamboo. Nice sound came out of the bamboo when he inhaled. There was a wooden box filled with Angel hair tobacco next to the door. Satisfaction climbed to the man’s face.” Sam still remembers the first sight with water pipe.

At that time, Sam and his college Miss Li walked down Kunshi Road. The small scene with water pipe dragged his attention. After several conversations with Miss Li, Sam got to know water pipes which canto some extent reduce the harm of smoking.

Later on, Sam and Miss Li took a trip in Jianchuan County. They encountered an old man smoking a water pipe again when they visited a small village. Sam shared his thoughts with Miss Li. He really wanted to try the magical water pipe. Then they negotiated with the old man. Sam finally got the water pipe in his hand. Unbelievably, he learned how to use it at once. As a result, he brought one in Kunming. When he came back to London, he actually brought the water pipe back home together. Perhaps, the water pipe represents his awesome memories about Kunming.

Sam and his students. [Provided to InKunming]

Yunnan Rice Noodle

The water pipe surprised Sam although Yunnan people were pretty familiar with it. So did the Yunnan Rice Noodle (also called cross-the-bridge rice noodles).

His friend took Sam to a restaurant named Qiaoxiangyuan where a great deal of people went to try the famous Yunnan Rice Noodle in a red wooden house located in Dongfeng West Road. Sam was shocked when waiter got the noodles to the table. Several small dishes holding two raw quail eggs, corns, bean sprouts, shallots and coriander, a big dish containing three slashes raw pork and chicken, a bowl of beige noodles and a huge bowl almost loaded with light-yellow soup were gathered on the table. He was confused about how to start eating.

His friend saw his expression and explained immediately, “you are supposed to put all the ingredients into the soup. A few minutes later, you can enjoy the cross-the-bridge noodles.”

“There were merely noodles which were made of flours in my mind.” Sam honestly said. In fact, he did like the rice noodles at first. He thought they were bland and so fragile. “Most importantly, the ingredients were outside the soup while pork and quail eggs were raw.” he added. Sam gradually gets used to rice noodles and he loves them now, specially the tasted soup. Sometimes he goes to eat a Douhua rice noodles.

Sam cannot eat local cuisine at first as he can only accept light food before. Luckily, his eating habit grows up with local cuisine. At present, he often goes to Chinese restaurant where he can find fried potatoes and some Dai food.

Sam enjoys life in Kunming.[Provided to InKunming]

Weather

Like many people, when Sam heard about the name “Spring City”, he thought everyday would be beautiful sunshine, fragrant flowers everywhere. The air should be full of hope like a paradise. Kunming does to the life what spring does to the Cherry Trees. After his first stay, he gradually realized that Kunming was a new name to replace Spring City. Sometimes the temperature difference between day and night is too big to react it. But the interesting thing is that youcan see people wearing four-season-clothes in a day. He smiled and said,” Sometimes I thought it was a wise choice to bring a box of clothes with me so that I can change my clothes according to the temperature.”

However, he loves Kunming’s winter. He can say hello to the warm sunshine in winter. Besides, he can appreciate blossoming cherries as well. It is totally different from London’s winter where people have to wear thick clothes walk quickly in the air of snowflakes.

15 years

When Sam came to Kunming in 1996, he was impressed by the architectures here. At that time, Kunming was a different city where physically there were few tall buildings and more bicycles. Especially, many pretty wooden buildings were around the city. And the people here really liked reading newspapers on noticeboards to obtain the current information.

In 2013, he came to China since he hoped he can remember his Chinese for good. Due to the unique beauty of Kunming, he decided to teach in Kunming because teaching English in China makes his individual talents best utilized. However, a great many changes have taken place in Kunming when time stretches. More shops and private cars appear on the street. Although the air pollution is going up, the city is increasingly developed. People can take a metro to University Town instead of taking a bus. The high-speed railway is under construction. Everything is on the way for the good.

Sam plans to go back to Britain in a year. It is obvious that he will travel to Kunming some time because he has already fallen love with Kunming. He hopes to walk around the Cuihu Lake, see black-headed gulls, enjoy fried potatoes and tofu and have a nice chat with local people.

Click here to view Chinese report.

(Editors:  Rachel, Tracy)

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