Lonely Planet China says that whatever amount of time you've planned to spend in Yunnan province, double it. We thought we were giving ourselves lots of days, but we still should have doubled them, if nothing else because of the schlepping and bus journeys and whatnot involved in getting from Kunming to outlying places. Although we barely made a dent in all there is to see and do in Yunnan, at least we got a glimpse to whet our appetite for future China travels.
On Thursday we took the bus a couple of hours south of Kunming to Jianshui, a little town with cute streets, old architecture, cobblestones, a huge Confucian temple (my boy Confucius! I've learned a bit about him during this Asia stint), a cool city gate with a tea house on the second floor, and loads of street side barbecue, including grilled tofu and goat cheese everywhere. Let me just say right now that I adore the goat cheese and would double my time in Yunnan for the sole purpose of doubling the amount of grilled goat cheese I could eat.
As usual, we couldn't speak a lick of Mandarin despite our gallant efforts and phrasebook. The tones are just beyond me but I am determined to master these tonal Chinese languages, I'm telling you. Anyway, despite our lack of skill we procured a lovely hotel room (with a bathroom door, thank you very much), and all I wanted to do was sit in our cute courtyard and drink tea and other refreshing beverages, but we had walking around to do, so we did some of that, too.
The Confucian temple and the Zhu family garden were the highlights of the sights, both of which had lots of wandering around with buildings and water upon which to gaze, in their separate ways. As was typical of our China trip, there was rain at some point to plague us, but not all day, thankfully.
All in all, I recommend a jaunt to Jianshui next time you are in Kunming. Message me privately if you would like to be forewarned about the horrible rest stop bathrooms your bus will stop at along the way.