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Kunming, Yunnan Province, China (3)

("Up" takes you to the Kunming page; click here for the Photo Album index)

Sister-pages:   Home Up Kunming(2) Kunming(3) Green Lake Scenes Green Lake for Kids KM Medical University Kun Shi Zhuan College Kunming--YNNU YNUBS (College)

(▲ Links to the pages at the same level as this page. If you can't see the label, put your mouse over a button and look at the bottom of your browser.)

Click here for photos of our apartment, Kunming page two (including photos of the International Horticultural Expo and the Minorities park), and Kunming page one.

Kunming has a long, proud history. The area was particularly important during World War 2 (called the War of Resistance Against Japan or War Against Japanese Aggression here in China). This marker is close to the back gate of our apartment complex in Kunming, and it commemorates the work done by both Chinese and foreign workers to build the Burma Road (called the Dian Mian Highway in Chinese)--China's supply lifeline in the early 1940s. This is the spot where the road began.

See my YNNU page to read about how that university got started when China's major universities set up temporary residence here during the war.

Of course, Kunming has changed a lot since World War 2! In fact, it has changed a lot in the five years we've lived here (2005-2010). The photo above shows a little piece of this huge city, with somewhere near 7 million residents, taken from the roof of our apartment building.

In early 2010, Vivian's office moved to the "tall" building in the center of the above photo (to the right of the tall building in the foreground). The photo below is taken from the office (again, note the tall building near the middle--our apartment is just behind it).

The worst thing about Kunming's changes - in my humble opinion - is the increasingly terrible traffic conditions. Hundreds of cars are added to the roads daily, but most of the city grew when private cars were illegal (there were few before 2000). Now (2010), Kunming has one of the highest per capital rates of private car ownership in China. Parking in my apartment complex is a nightmare (below left)! Roads are regularly jammed. The trip from Kunming to the satellite city of Chenggong takes an hour on a good day, but I've been stuck in traffic for three hours on the same route. But, to be fair, I thought you'd like to read a more positive view from one of my students:


Recent Improvements in Kunming’s Traffic Conditions

In the past five years, Kunming has improved its crowed traffic condition by extending the city boundaries and building new roads. Firstly, Kunming's boundaries now include the satellite city of Chenggong, where a new city hall, a university town, shopping malls, a hospital and residential districts have been built one after another. Nearly 100,000 people have moved in; therefore, the population density in the old downtown area has decreased. Moreover, new roads and seventeen overpasses encircling the city have been constructed, like a huge net connecting downtown with the suburbs. Driving at the maximum speed - 60 kilometers per

hour - on the new roads has become a joyful experience. People can save more than one hour in reaching some destinations. The enlarged city and newly constructed highways have helped make the transportation in Kunming faster and more convenient. -- by Sharry (KMU graduate student, December 2009)

Traffic on Renmin Rd in front of part of the Medical University's #1 Affiliated Hospital (near the old campus)

This cityscape was taken from one of the hospital's buildings, on an uncharacteristically hazy day (the sky is normally blue).

(Above left) St. John's chrch is located in the heart of the shopping district. The current building (the third on this site, I believe) was completed in 2006, but the inset shows an interesting historical marker everyone sees as they enter ("In memory of Allied soldiers who died in China, 1939-1945"). As I showed this to my father, the pastor came out, and when he heard that my dad knew someone who served in China with the Flying Tigers he asked to have a photo taken together. We were moved by the love and respect that this leader showed for the Americans who helped China fight Japan in World War 2. Since then, I (Michael) have enjoyed lively Thursday night services with this man and hundreds of enthusiastic Chinese believers.


(Above right and below) A friend of ours here in Kunming was part of a group working to set up a Flying Tigers theme park in Li-jiang. The Flying Tigers were a highly successful group of American volunteers who fought against tremendous odds to stop Japan from bombing cities in south China, and to protect the Burma Road. Both my parents and friends from Scotland (below) were impressed by the vision and plans for this interesting museum and tribute to American-Chinese cooperation. Unfortunately, the group had to give up on the park, being unable to get enough sponsors. Maybe someday...


Visit http://flyingtigersavg.com to see some cool paintings of the Flying Tigers.[broken link?]

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