Majiaying, Xishan District, Kunming, Yunnan, 650228, China
More about Kunming
Old buildings in Muslim quarter
Small orchestres are being formed.
One of the oldest monks playing musicals...
Studying Mandarin in Kunming
I'm planning on travelling to Kunming at the end of the year for a couple of months to study mandarin. I am thinking of studying at the Keats school but was wondering if anyone has been there or heard any positive/negative comments about it. Any help would be much appreciated!
RE: Studying Mandarin in Kunming
I was there for 3 weeks in 97. We studied at Min Zhu Xue Yuan (Minorities' School). We had very good teachers. There were 4 of us, 2 in beginners' class and 2 in intermediate class. I was in the intermediate class and we learned a lot about the culture, the worldviews, etc. even within the short three weeks.
My friends in the beginner's class were also "forced" to learn because their teachers knew very little English. So, they learned a lot of words and phrases too.
Kunming is a beautiful city and the name 'Spring City' aptly describes the weather. I have never heard of Keats School, though. Must be new.
Re: Studying Mandarin in Kunming
Did you end up studying at Keats? how was it? Please let me know. I'm thinking about studying there in the winter.
Re: Studying Mandarin in Kunming
No, not Keats. Don't think it was existent in 1997. The Minorities' School is a school for locals. We were there for the summer and we were foreigners, so maybe that's why we were enrolled in the "Minorities' School." The campus is smaller than Yunnan University so, you won't get lost within its maze of buildings and corridors. Fewer teachers too, so bonding with them is easier.
Travel Tips for Kunming
Don't forget to drink the "papaya water"
This is a cool refreshment very common in Kunming.
The papaya water or Mu Gua Shui does not taste like papaya at all. It is more like jelly in some water, with brown sugar syrup added, which sinks to the bottom.
A cup/glass/bowl of that costs RMB1.
Remember to try that when you bump into one. It's called "Mu Gua Shui" in mandarin. Kunming people seem to like to use papaya for everything.
Papaya salad (shuan mu gua)
Sliced papaya stir-fried with beef (shuan mu gua)
Papaya soup (shuan mu gua)
Note: - this is a grossly incorrect translation. I just discovered that although they called it "mu4 gua1". It should be "shuan mu gua", which means sour "mu gua". I hastily thought that was papaya (ie pawpaw), but when I saw the actual fruit, it resembled nothing of the papaya that I am familiar with. It looks more like an unripe round mango.
I have yet to find out exactly which papaya (maybe there is a third one) that goes to make this papaya water. The real papaya (pawpaw) is rarely seen in Kunming.
It's alright to bargain
Bargaining is the culture, and the customer who is not aware of the "market price" loses.
It's also true the traders here are usually small businessmen who do not make much money. So if you feel sorry for them this way, perhaps you should just pay whatever the asking price is.
Don't be rude in the bargaining process though. Be pleasant, smile always, and offer a price lower than what you want to pay, this way you give yourself room to move up if the vendor thinks it is too low. Alternatively you can pretend to walk away, and the vendor will call you back if he/she thinks the price is still acceptable to him. If he/she doesn't, it does not really matter because you can usually find the exact same thing in the next couple of stalls.
Make sure you take it if they say ok. It's extremely rude to walk away when the vendor agrees to your price.
Meeting Point, Waterwheel
This is one of the meeting spots of many tourists & locals. Right at the transition from New Town to Old Town, the waterwheel was constructed as a reminder of the water-mills used by the Naxi tribe in the past.
The Ultimate Tibetan Cowboy Bar?
A very curious mixture of cowboy artefacts and photographs and a Tibetan style. The Aoma Meili Pub has one internet PC (Y5/hr) and serves a range of Western and Chinese food and snacks. It has a very good wine selection.
The Western food can be a bit hit-and-miss (appalling steak one evening, but good several days before).
Coffee can take a long time to brew.
Good music. The banana pancakes are great, especially with a steaming cup of Lanshan Coffee.
Go for the soup !
The restaurant looks very nice from the outside. Lots of glass, dark blue theme, very classy.
And inside, a lot of pictures of old Kunming hang on the wall, giving a nostalgic feeling to a customer is a totally modern environment. The furniture and settings are all very modern.
Sit upstairs and get a good view of the Green Lake. The soup ! It comes in a clay pot about 8 inches tall. You must order a soup, which is usually stewed over a low fire for a long time. Can be pork ribs or chicken (soupbase), and veges such as lotus root, etc depending on the day.
Other dishes are so-so, but not bad.
We ordered a chicken mushroom dish and that was a disappointment. There was little mushroom and chicken, in their place we found lots of onion and chillis.
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