User profile: Tom69

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Forums > Travel Yunnan > to Yuanyang and Xishuangbanna

Most Asian countries (probably even all) and that will most certainly include China, currently have or will have, an insurance requirement when they first reopen. It isn't just Thailand. Cambodia has such a requirement (the Thai requirement will be lowered to US$50000 coverage starting November 1, down from the present US$100000), so does Singapore, where the coverage required is just S$30000 (strange for such an expensive country that the limit is lower than in Thailand and Cambodia).

In any case, insurance requirements alone won't deter too many people. Chinese, Thais etc. have required insurance to get a European Schengen visa for touristic purposes for years.

For me it's the vaccination and testing requirements that will put me off travel for the foreseeable future. Not to mention the likely imposition of a short quarantine period (probably for one night). I can totally see the authorities waiting for travelers at the destination station and bringing them to their pre-booked accommodation where they will be tested and they will have to wait until negative results are obtained. I'm sure this will be the system when borders first re-open. After a few months, they'll probably scrap this and revert back to a more normal entry scheme.

Forums > Travel Yunnan > to Yuanyang and Xishuangbanna

Any word on whether the train will carry passengers into Laos? Haven't heard either Laos or China agreeing to lift quarantine anytime soon, and parts of Laos are still under lockdown (for example Luang Prabang).

I don't see that changing in just 6 weeks from now.

I've heard people say that the train will only be for freight at the beginning. Now it appears that passengers will be allowed aboard but I suspect ONLY for the domestic component on either side of the border. If you're coming from Kunming, I'd imagine you would have to alight at either Mengla or Mohan station, with only freight permitted to cross the border for the time being.

I anticipate full service to begin sometime in 2022, as land borders reopen. Since Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and even Myanmar have announced tentative reopening schedules, I suspect Laos will be under pressure to reopen around the same time and the same can be said for China (despite previously stating that the country won't reopen before mid-2022). China may have to abandon it's current "zero Covid" policy for that to happen though.

According to the Bangkok Post, the Thai-Lao land border should reopen starting on January 15, 2022, but I expect it will involve much more than just arriving with your passport and visa like before Covid. I can't see China having any looser requirements in place.

In fact, I'd imagine that a passenger getting on this train will need to be fully vaccinated and may also need a negative Covid test. Once the Lao-China border re-opens, both of these requirements (or at least vaccination alone) will be mandatory, certainly at the beginning.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Gokunming-Where have all the foreigners gone

JR305, I totally understand your sentiment. I left China a few years ago, although I have continued visiting regularly for business, up until not too long before Covid.

I remember seeing the signs posted on Chinese businesses refusing entry to foreigners, especially people of African descent in the early days of Covid. Such stories went viral on the Shanghaiist and other foreign media. Although these signs seemed to disappear after around the middle of 2020, I think the writing was definitely already on the wall.

I'll always be fond of China, especially Kunming and rural areas of Yunnan, which I'm most familiar with. That being said, although I have some great friends there, most of whom are locals, I find it can be a lonely place to be, if you're staying long-term. Most foreigners come and go. Few remain long-term, other than those married to locals and who own businesses such as restaurants and bars.

Chinese apartments can be nice, but what would be nicer is a big house with a large yard, something that is almost impossible to find in any Chinese city, where 99% of people now live in some sort of apartment and the 1% well to do in a townhouse that is kind of a glorified apartment.

While I haven't faced what you have when I was living in China, I did experience some minor cases of racism here and there. This was especially apparent when I was with another Chinese or Asian woman similar or younger in age to me. One time in Yuxi, south of Kunming, my female Chinese friend was called a whore by a jealous local dude. Even though I felt like hitting the guy, I don't think that would have been a good idea!

I was also verbally abused by an elderly Chinese couple once in a Kunming shopping mall back around 2011.

Other than that, I get the feeling that a lot of locals look down on us as simply being English teachers with few other skills. In nearly every interaction I've had with Chinese, I was stereotyped as an English teacher even though I'm not.

Although there are certain complaints made by expats living in SE Asia that are similar; for the most part, experiences are much more positive than those of China. There are more foreigners in SE Asia, English is more widely spoken and a lot of things look more familiar to us than what we'll find in China.

Going forward, I'd love to visit China again once the borders reopen. I'll gladly visit once or twice a year. I don't know if I'd want to live there again though, even though there are some charming aspects of life that I miss. I love the western cafes like A slice of heaven and the French cafe and similar ones in places like Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-la. The backpacker hostels are quite luxurious and their proprietors very nice people. I don't stay in such places anywhere else but China. The landscapes are fabulous and the diversity and richness of the food is almost unparalleled anywhere.

In other words, China is fantastic for travel and short-term business, but not that great as a place to live.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Gokunming-Where have all the foreigners gone

@livinginchina, that occurred to me long ago. Covid is the perfect excuse for governments to keep populations under their grip. Indeed, many countries' GDP is based largely on tourism such as the Maldives. Although they're kind of open, when you have quarantine in the reverse direction (as many places impose on returnees from there) the tourism industry can't be sustained and the entire economy is at stake.

While China doesn't have that problem and it's domestic tourism industry, though large, is mainly made up of domestic visitors, being a hermit kingdom isn't going to do any country any good.

In a globalized community, we need the whole world to go back to normal, not just a few countries (such as Denmark).

Forums > Living in Kunming > Gokunming-Where have all the foreigners gone

Exactly. I just hope the good times return soon. Seeing happy Chinese tourists traveling all over Asia and the world, and vice versa is how I want things to be like again. Splashing their money around.

I think maybe that will start to occur again during the second half of 2022 if China eases off it's "zero Covid" policy, which is shared by Australia and New Zealand. Then by 2023, things might finally start to look pretty normal again.


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@Alien, you are right about the nationalist "protecting our country from ....." part, which is indeed a smokescreen that most people still fall for.

As for the opposition that I referred to, the real patriots, liberty and freedom loving people etc. are generally not tied to any political party because they are able to think outside of the two party paradigm. Traditionally they probably thought of themselves as conservatives, however, these days not that much separates the democrats and republicans anymore as they both largely run the same agenda even if they use slightly different means of getting there. Libertarians would be closer, but even that's not specific enough as some Libertarian candidates aren't true enough to the core values of that brand if you will. "Conservative Libertarian" is perhaps the closest term that describes what I'm referring to. There are certainly Europeans who share these values, but far fewer than Americans.

As for the student who made the speech, it's hard to say exactly what she meant because I didn't hear her whole talk, only read this article. However, I suspect that she, like many others are successfully drawn into the whole ideology that students are taught at American universities and this not only made her worldview conform to these values, but she has probably been so convinced that these "progressive" values are what makes America great and what China should strive for.

@Peter99, LOL. Yeah nihilism seems to have replaced any sort of sense of self-worth, self-preservation or pride in one's being, culture and overall values in Europe. It's disturbing, though sad more than anything. At least China still clings onto most of these things. Not that everything traditional about say Chinese culture is good, or that change should be rejected at all costs, but preserving the most important cultural values and having at least some sense of history and identity is important. Otherwise I think there's not much purpose to life.

@Peter99, 100% agree with you. It's insane the way things are going now in Europe, in many ways it's even worse than in the USA because you have almost no conservative opposition in Europe. The patriotic, freedom loving revolutionary spirit is still strong in the US, but it's fading fast in Europe.

China and most parts of East Asia are a refreshing change, which makes living here so refreshing, in many ways. At least that's been my experience over the years.

@Alien, you make an excellent point but the US is not making wars/regime change for nationalist purposes. It's actually for the exact opposite reason, which is to advance the interests and pockets of multinational corporations like Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin big oil companies and many others (and of course the big banks and big oligarchs) for whom nationality and patriotism is meaningless.

I am absolutely 100% opposed to all imperalistic US-led actions since the late 1800s, all these wars were unnecessary and have brought with them untold misery.

I used to buy all that bull about China being a "dictatorship" whenever the NY Times, The Washington Post or The Economist used to bring it up in my younger days, but I've since become much wiser now that I can predict their writing style in my sleep. Hence why I now frown every time I read a story similar to this one - the writing style, the things said are always pretty much the same.

Globalism is relevant here, because it's the dominant ideology that is being force fed down our throats, at least in the west for the past few decades. Just because the media, popular culture and western governments like to force us to accept that crap doesn't mean it should be considered the 'norm' or 'good', which is why I object to people dissing nationalism, without being objective by also criticizing the left's tactics because to me it is a blatant double standard. You would have made a better point if you had correctly pointed out "ultra-nationalism" as being the problem here, which is quite prevalent amongst a significant proportion of the Chinese population and explains the negative reactions of many Chinese netizens to this student's speech.

From the responses here, I can see many GoKunming posters still have their wits about them, but I can guarantee you back in the west you have to assume everyone is a liberal when they only attack speech that is contrary to their worldview.

This student's speech was a sort of subtle way of dissing her country. While it may be a bit excessive for her countrymen to criticize her for correctly pointing out that China has air pollution problems (which would suggest that a Chinese person can't even slightly criticize their homeland), I think what really got Chinese netizens fuming is the claim that there is complete freedom of speech and freedom in general in America but none in China, which is a typical tactic employed by western propagandists trying to make China look bad. I call complete bull on that. You have freedom of speech in America that is protected by the 1st amendment of the constitution, but in practice, there are many places (such as most universities) or situations where anything other than left-wing, liberal, SJW speech is not welcome. Anything of a conservative or libertarian nature is criticized, ridiculed, taken out of context, dismissed etc. and to pretend there's complete freedom of speech in America in 2017 when you have both active and passive censorship taking place is ludicrous. It's also not true that there is absolutely no freedom of speech in China. Yes there are a few things you have to be very careful talking about - but I find it's possible to talk about the vast majority of topics with Chinese people, many of which I would only carefully raise with a westerner or even avoid altogether unless I knew said individual very well. The other thing is when I talk to Chinese people about these topics, sometimes they even bring them up themselves, nobody gets offended, but they relish in the lively discussion.

Another example are publications like The Shanghaiist, the Global Times etc. all allow unfiltered comments of any type to fill their comments sections - some newspapers in the States like the NY Times will delete unfavorable ones. Let's not forget Facebook, or should I say "censorbook", which is increasingly employing the same kind of tactics. Hmm. Double standard much?

Yes, something like that but I think you've misinterpreted my point. I was trying to say that extreme viewpoints on either side of the spectrum are problematic as evidenced by my examples contrasting two ideological opposites that have resulted in largely the same outcomes (violence, rioting, property damage, vandalism etc.) It's always best to reach a conclusion somewhere in the middle by considering both angles to a story. Being perpetually offended by playing the victim card is stupid, but so too is deliberately antagonizing someone or something else.


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