I have some second-hand info on Al Medina from some very hungry friends who said that the food was decent but overpriced given the small portions, and that the menu was still way too limited. This was as of late October. I'd love an update from anyone who has gone more recently... what happened to that new chef?
Today I got my cell phone stolen in the bus (#10) on the way to work. The thief cut a 3 inch gash in the outside of my purse through to an inner pocket and took out my cell phone. Luckily he missed the cash.
I took all the credit cards out of my purse last weekend and have been very cautious after a friend was robbed for the second time in 3 months walking home after work. Three weeks ago, a different friend had her ipod plucked out of her backpack while waiting at a stoplight.
I have heard of a few other instances of pickpocketing, slashing, or near theft occurring on buses, bus stops, and crowded downtown streets in Kunming. Here is my advice:
1. Take all of the cards and money you don't need out of your purse or wallet now. The hassle of having to go home for a credit card does not outweigh the hassle of losing it.
2. Carry the valuables you need to take with you on your person. Be sure they are in a place that you can SEE and FEEL them (not in your loose back pocket). If you need to put them in a purse or bag, bury them inside in a way that their presence (lump) is not visible.
3. If you are carrying a purse or bag with anything stealable inside, hold it in front of you on the bus.
4. Be alert in crowded places, and please be a good Samaritan: there were TONS of people on the bus today, there is a good chance that someone saw the theft or at least noticed the huge hole in my bag before I did (an hour later). Help your fellow kunmingren.
hold on a second there, and back up a step: are there laws against dogs here in kunming?? i don't have one, but it seems like everyone else does. if someone is actually stopping you for a violation, it is surely just because you are foreigner, because i am sure no one else is complying with these laws. just "ting bu dong."
You can def. find cheap laptops here in China (700-1000 USD) but I would hesitate to buy here for a few reasons:
1. language. the program software is going to be in Chinese, which means you'll have to track down an english version of windows, install it, get new versions of all your programs, etc etc. At minimum, its a lot of screwing around. At worst, you'll have some things that are always in Chinese. This might not be a problem for you, but it will be for your friends or computer repair shop back home.
2. And about those repairs: even if you buy an international brand over here, you're probably going to have a hard time getting the documentation needed for warantee. Not to mention all the forms are in Chinese. The place you buy from might tell you they will fix it free for X period of time but then you go back and they have "never seen you before."
In my experience, crap Chinese brands are cheaper but international brands of electronics are generally more expensive over here anyway.
Does someone know of an electronics/computer store that they trust? I usually go with 国美 (Gome, for some reason, in English) for the big-ticket stuff.