User profile: atwillden

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Forums > Living in Kunming > first of two things I can not stand living in kunming

Just a note here... but some of us who are foreigners do legitimately enjoy having a cigarette at the bar or in a restaurant, so its not just a Chinese thing. Generally we do try to keep it polite though, i.e., no smoking in very confined spaces or where its simply inappropriate. Personally, I'd prefer Kunming stay a bit more like that and not like California where you're a pariah if you want to have a cigarette 20 feet away from the door.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Changing money in Kunming

To answer two questions.

1) The new airport does have a travelex on the ground floor, right after you come out of the international arrivals baggage claim area. The rate is not the best, but it can be useful to change some small amounts to get money for cab fare and the like. I am sure there is an ATM somewhere in the airport...but I have no idea where.

2) at ICBC you can take out 5000 at a time, but (at least from my attempts) not at machines marked as ATM. Instead use the CRS machines. No idea if its a fluke or a feature of the different machines, but the CRS machines seem to give more.

One caution on the foreign card front—some smaller banks do not automatically have their Debit/Credit Cards enabled for international cash withdrawals (this happened to me the first day in Kunming) so it can be a good idea to have some physical cash to change in to RMB, just in case you need some funds to tide you over.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Bus Card

Does anyone know where to go to purchase one of the bus cards used on the public transit system around town? A few friends have given me vague answers like go to Xiaoximen and look around or just find a bus station, but I was hoping to get some more specific directions. Thanks in advance!

Forums > Living in Kunming > Metro Membership

Hello all,

I've read through the forums over the last few months, and it seems one of the better places to buy imported goods is Metro. How exactly does one get a membership card to shop there? Is it possible to get an individual membership or do you actually need to be associated with a hotel/restaurant or similar? A few posters have mentioned that generally foreigners can use their passport to get a membership—is this still the case?



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It equally seems inappropriate that in a country where people struggle to get adequate nutrition that by you have people driving jaguars & BMWs and innumerable Gucci/Prada/Louis Vuitton boutiques...not to mention the obsessions with smartphones.... c'est la vie I suppose.

So, after a few weeks of trying to get over the shock of the site looking so different, I have to say I still am loathe to come onto GoKunming with the new look. Don't get me wrong, there are great improvements and the site design has some pluses... however, it is not a site design that works with large multicolored advertisements running everywhere. The dark background of the older site made these seem less garish, but the new light color gradually just means that all I see is the ads.

As a second (related) note, this site does look nice on touch devices, but the lack of framing (like the old site had) can make going through the forums or classifieds an irritating experience.

best of luck in the growing pains.


yes, the observatory is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and is open for educational visits to the public. They have a great observation tower with a sun telescope you can view (which is 7 flights of stairs up an old Maoist era tower—very cool), as well as an older but still cool IMAX dome-style theater where you watch some films about movement of the stars in Yunnan (all in Chinese). There aren't any foreign staff, so the tour would be entirely in thick Kungminghau. There is also a great hole in the wall museum with old astronomical instruments, some meteor fragments and a few exhibits on Chinese astronomy.

When I was there 2 months ago, the old road the connects the observatory to the city had been torn out and we had to drive on muddy clay. It's also pretty far out (near the airportish), and the facility is OLD. Most of the scientists/their families/support staff are really friendly, and most had never seen a foreign visitor before.

If you have enough people who are interested, we could get a minibus and arrange a tour via their sister Zoological institute on Jiaochang Donglu.

I wouldnt exactly call all non-Euro/American principles of land ownership fair and equitable either. Many cultures have cut up the land they lived on and turned oases into deserts—definitely not a new "western" phenomenon. That said, in general the issue of the moon has been settled in principle by international conventions, but enforcement wasn't really included because no one has yet figured out how to extract resources from space and get them back to earth at a reasonable cost. Out of sheer curiosity though, what would be terrible about a country/company owning an asteroid and mining it? Don't get me wrong, seeing the coca-cola logo on the moon wouldn't be fun, but we are not nearly into that realm yet.



Slight unrated update here... I was in again and spoke to Sandra's partner, and he agreed there could be a greater selection of items (especially meat/cheese-wise) so he mentioned that several new products would be coming out shortly. So, not to say that dudeson's review was inaccurate (given his description, it's an entirely fair assessment from his experience), but mostly just to report that there should be some things worth going back to try.