User profile: voltaire

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Full Lunar Eclipse this Saturday, Dec. 10

Hi all, thought you might be interested in this.

The last full lunar eclipse to occur until 2014 is on THIS SATURDAY, the 10th of December.

The eclipse will not be fully visible to much of the world, but lucky Yunnan residents get to see the whole thing! (Check out for a world map).

Having seen a similar event earlier this year in India, I can recommend making the effort to get out and see it.

The local timings for viewing the event in Kunming, courtesy of NASA at, are as follows.

The initial penumbral (partial / 'shadow cast by the edge of the earth's atmosphere') eclipse begins at 19:34.

The partial umbral (actual hard shadow from the earth) eclipse begins at 20:46.

The total eclipse begins at 22:06. As this begins, be on the look out for special colours on the moon. Once it sets in, the moon will apparently be coloured with a reddish or orange hue of unknown nature, due to unpredictable atmospheric conditions at the time. Mid-eclipse will occur almost half an hour later at 22:32. The total eclipse will end at 22:57. The partial eclipse will end at 00:18 and the penumbral eclipse will end at 01:30AM on Sunday, December 11.

It might be worth getting a little out of town to see this. I'm thinking of going to see from the cemetery parking lot on Yu'an Shan, accessible by a small road leading off the main one up to Bamboo Temple. To get there, head directly west from Xuefu Lu / Huangtupo.

If someone has a car I'd appreciate a lift!


Forums > Food & Drink > Healthy options - identity crisis.

Hi Tigertiger.

I run ... there's some dishes there you might like to take a look at. Going vegan or at least vegetarian would definitely help you.

In terms of eating decent low-fat western food outside, I would recommend:

- Small veggie pesto salad at Salvadors (very filling)

- Salads at Prague Cafe (though a little pricey)

Unfortunately much western food is simply bad for you in terms of cholesterol. Quiche, pizzas, hamburgers, heavy chunks of meat, etc. Lots of Chinese food you buy outside is also very oily, though. You can reduce the amount of oil you are eating by choosing good restaurants, ordering carefully and eating less.

Try going to a good Chinese restaurant (I recommend Kadilan, opposite Mandarin books) and ordering some vegetables you've never eaten before. The white root plant 'zi er gen', cucumber, mushrooms, tofu and tomato, various leafy greens, broccoli, etc. are all tasty and much better for heart conditions than meat dishes.

Also, drinking a glass of red wine every night is supposed to help reduce the incidence of heart problems.

Stay away from any regular consumption of sugary foods. One of the worst is beer, but also fizzy drinks like sodas. Move from beer to wine: feel better, drink less.

If you are smoking, stop. When I've succeeded in stopping for weeks or months in the past a combination of exercise and locking myself at home with DVDs or a computer game or some good books has been a good method. Also, travel in a low-pressure environment (Thailand, etc.) can be a good way to keep the mind off the habit.

Consider getting in to cooking a lot more ... the veggie markets in Yunnan are some of the best in the world and you can really eat well here. Ultimately, eating at home gives you the most control over what you will consume and in what quantity.

Get more fruit around the house, and snack on that and eg: cashew nuts instead of having full meals. Don't overdo the cashews though: in theory they're pretty high fat but in practice you can munch away pretty happily as long as you don't do a bowl a day!

Eat less in the evening, and more in the morning or at lunch time.

Exercise wise, maybe get yourself a bicycle and take a day a week to visit one of Kunming's nearby mountains. Also consider playing some badminton (very full body game: less energetic / high body impact than squash, very approachable for people out of shape).

Good luck and thanks for the shock treatment. I'm overweight too after a too much of the good life and not enough exercise but am working on it with some serious cycling and careful food selection right now. Hoping to avoid a similar situation in 20 years' time!

Forums > Travel Yunnan > Dali-Lincang-Lancang-Jinghong anybody?

I would recommend going south from Dali via Midu, Jingdong and Jinggu, then heading west across to Lincang. This area has far more traditional Dai temples than you can find in Xishuangbanna owing to the Xishuangbanna Dai's propensity to knock the old ones down and build glammed-out concrete replacements the second some rubber-plantation money drips in. That said, there are still plenty of interesting places in Xishuangbanna, just most of them are nothing to do with the Dai but instead other 'minority' groups.

Three of us (Taiwanese 18, Australian 27, Australian 29) are planning to cycle that route at least as far as Jinggu, with an open schedule, at the beginning of October. The pace will be pretty slow, I'd say. If you're interested in coming then feel free to get in touch: 18669080480

Forums > Living in Kunming > Amusing T-Shirt phrases

Man made <something or other I later determined to be an English radio station>, God made Grass, who do you trust? [With a huge marijuana leaf] - about 2005, eastern Shandong.


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Note that can refer specifically to the Chinese mulberry (on which silkworms are grown) or may refer more generally to thistle or thorny shrubs. As the document is written for the Emperor/imperial bureaucracy, the choice of character could be an purposeful implication, ie. 'its a thorny horrid place', or 'we will gain mulberry fields and silk through conquering their territory'.

Note also that the Chinese author of the text specifically accuses Nanzhao of stealing silkmaking technology from the Chinese through capturing large numbers of women and children in a recent invasion of Sichuan, and asserts that all of Nanzhao is now capable of silk production.


Your theory sounds good however my observations differ - in the 9th century Nanzhao-era / Tang Dynasty text about Yunnan I am translating is used instead of or for Tuodong.

The degree of character-shifting observed over time would suggest that the 'real' origin of the sound Tuodong is an earlier, endemic, non-Chinese language. Given the time and historical linguistic makeup of Yunnan to which modern groups and other evidence attest, this was probably related either to a language spoken by the Yelang Kingdom (eg. Miao/Hmongic) or an Yi language.

As I have already found very directly attested Yi words transliterated to Chinese in the same book in the context of Nanzhao's army, weapons and customs, I would suggest this may be the origin.

Unfortunately Yi is a very fragmented language family so it is difficult to infer meaning to ancient phonemes.

I wonder if there's some kind of historical study about the cured hams ... clearly Xuanwei took the cake as the 'famous place' in modern times, but how far back did that extend? I suspect not all that far. What of the cured hams of Pu'er, Dali, etc.? Is this all stemming from a single tradition (as is likely) or are there distinct approaches? Curing can occur through salt or smoke, what range of techniques are used across Yunnan? Are these limited to or aligned with particular geographies or meats? 'Ganba' beef, for example, tends to be smoked water buffalo meat.



@nailer is being unfairly dismissed: they are certainly fallible. At one point they were well managed and the only game in town, and their outdoor bar had an interesting social vibe. Recently, none of these is the case (was given a bad bill to the tune of ~300% - no managers present and a subsequent complaint resulted in a less than ideal outcome, many more places are now open, and the outdoor bar is closed). Unless you are specifically seeking faux-Americana (often far better examples elsewhere) or two degrees removed faux-Mexicana, there's little reason to go there. How come French Cafe can serve a great sandwich for 24 but Sals requires 50 for a pretend-exoticized nibble? Certainly the business will continue, but the hey-dey is clearly gone. Romaniticizing the past aint gonna help. E-waste recycling by shipping (non carbon neutral) junk across the country? Puh-lease. Garbage processing people here recycle anyway! I applaud the ethical stance of one of the managers, but the place has frankly lost its mojo.


Hands down the best draft craft beer in Kunming. On top of that, very reasonable prices for food and other drinks (especially wine).


Called the number provided on a Friday at 2:15PM while a 10% discount was advertised "on Friday and Saturday" (listed in GoKunming specials).

A Chinese person answered the 'English' phone number in Mandarin then explained in broken English that you need to order 3 hours in advance. (Subtext: As their business is so slow)

Grumble. False advertising. Waste of time. Seems 100% Chinese run. Probably bad pizza.


The listing here is wrong! Teresa's are not defunct, they are just back to being one store instead of two stores on Wenlinjie now! They are still in business, still answer on this phone number, and are still delivering! Points for consistency, it's been years! As of right now, it's 68 for the more toppings vegetarian at the largest size. They will do thin or thick crust. Yes, it's not to everyone's taste, but I always used to find adding dried chilli powder and some extra salt brought it up to tasty. Might go for a dash of Sichuan pepper oil to spice it up this time around. (You know you've been in China too long when...)