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A walk in the park; Green Lake Park, Kunming, Yunnan

Green Lake Park, Kunming; a tiny park stuck smack bang in the midst of the modern tower blocks and urban sprawl that is Yunnan’s largest city but what a wonderful spot it is and, as my fellow park-goers said, ‘this is what all parks should be like’!

A fiercely competed game of Go
A fiercely competed game of Go

As we said, tiny, and you could walk all round the park in a few minutes but you could also spend a few hours hanging out there; watching the goings on, listening to the music, meeting the people, snacking and drinking tea, coffees or beers, joining in the dancing and just generally soaking up the extraordinary atmosphere.

Lakeside card game
Lakeside card game

There’s card games, chess, go, checkers matches and of course mahjong played on park benches. There were a couple of the Chinese opera style singers which isn’t so easy on Western ears but there was also plenty of, for want of a better word, ‘folk’, music on traditional Chinese instruments played by some extremely talented musicians.  The form seemed to be anyone who could play and had brought an instrument or even just a tom-tom to tap on could join in the alfresco jams.

Jamming in the park
Jamming in the park

The range of instruments was astonishing and the quality of musicianship outstanding!

Some seriously talented musicians
Some seriously talented musicians

Some of the aerobics class and the extroverted fan dancers weren’t quite so talented but that didn’t seem to stop them and hats off for having what appeared a great time completely oblivious of who was watching. You’re also more than welcome to join in!

Fan dancers!?
Fan dancers!?

Same for the nearby open air version of Kunming’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ which seemed to combine the sublime and the ridiculous but again what a great idea! Someone brings a CD player and speaker and sets up a ballroom dancing session in the middle of the park.

'Strictly' Kunming style
‘Strictly’ Kunming style

Nearly forgot the birdwatchers and nature photographers who sat for hours photographing the same heron – there was a flurry of excitement when a flock of sparrows turned up – but you got the distinct impression half the fun was chatting to their neighbours, comparing lenses and just relaxing by the lake anyway.

A lot of very expensive gear!
A lot of very expensive gear!

We got lucky when what must be the most photographed heron in Yunnan landed right in front of us so seriously thinking of entering this shot for membership of the Green Lake bird photography club.

Chinese pond heron
Chinese pond heron

Ok Kunming’s mild climate helps a lot but really wonderful to see so many locals out enjoying themselves in the park and with such a range of social activities on offer and…………needless to say enormous fun for visitors to wander around too! A great Sunday afternoon in Green Lake Park. (All photos taking during our Vietnam and China tour, ‘South of the Clouds

Cheers!