Day 8 – Saturday, March 13

This was a very laid back day. We spent this morning driving around the city of Kunming and enjoyed seeing some new areas of the city.   We were surprised to see a WalMart flourishing in  one of the neighborhoods and just had to take a photo……

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The highlight of the day was a stop for lunch at a “Fish Restaurant”.  Now, I am not a huge fish fan and was a bit concerned about this meal, but it was so much fun and such good food!!!!  We were joined by Doug, Sophie, Jai Ling and Ya Ping (director of Kunming Institute of Zoology) and their drivers as well.

When we sat down, it was at a round table with a funky hat-looking thing in the middle…..

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We raised the hat and discovered there was a large marble bowl built into the table with a steam vent at the bottom of the bowl. 

The waitress came over and filled the bowl with chicken broth and vegetables…..garlic, onions and carrots.  She then turned on the gas to the table and the steam started rising thru the broth and causing it to heat.

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A few minutes later the waiter came with a huge batch of fish and added it to the pot……._3134917

A tray of veggies was sat next to our table……

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The first vegetable added was sliced Lotus root……

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There were lots of small dishes put around the table each holding a different type of herb or spice.  There were pickled garlic cloves, fermented tofu with pepper sauce, a marinated green herb and a tomato and chili chutney that was very spicy.

To eat the food, you are supposed to take bits of these condiments and make your own personal dipping sauce using the broth from the bowl. _3134922 No one could tell me the name of the next vegetable, but it looked like tulip bulbs (and tasted like potato)…_3134927

Then came the greens…..  pea tendrils first…..

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followed by a type of lettuce……

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The final addition was a tofu rind……_3134939

As each of the additions cooked, you would dip (or chopstick) your favorites out of the soup and put them into your bowl over rice.  The rice was interesting….it was called potato rice and had chunks of deep fried potatoes mixed in._3134933

The director laughed at Michael and I because we so enjoyed the hot sauce.  He couldn’t quite  believe that Americans were used to eating hot stuff!!!……_3134934  In the afternoon, we visited a DVD store and were amazed by variety and prices that they had.

We then went to Doug and Sophie’s house for the rest of the afternoon, had an early Thai take-out meal and then back to the hotel for packing and a  bit of sleep.

The hotel that we were in was a 5-star hotel called Green Lakes Hotel.  It was a gorgeous building, with wonderful art work throughout the building and fantastic flower arrangements.

This is the lobby arrangement and those are real flowers……

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One day I saw a lady come out of the “flower” room where all of the arrangements were made, and there were a ton of flowers in that one small room!!!  There are flowers in our bathroom each day…normally a Gladiola stem.

The ash trays are cleaned out each morning and a flower design is stamped into the fresh sand, which was an interesting touch!!

The people were very polite and eager to be helpful and they made our trip even that much nicer.

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