Kunming was the site for the World Horticultural Exposition in 1999. This was a gigantic deal, and they built this huge park for the Expo. In addition to the many exhibition centers on the site, countries from around the world came and built examples of their native land's gardens on small plots. Most have some kind of building surrounded by a garden. Each of China's provinces also has a plot where they built gardens and buildings in the province's traditional style.
Most of the international sites have gone somewhat to seed, most notably the American site. For some reason the American theme was Texas, USA. Texas?! Yeah, when I think of American gardens, I think FIRST of Texas. Anyway, the building was abandoned and the grounds were mostly dirt. I guess it really did look like Texas, though.
The Chinese provincial sites, however, were stunning. The exhibition halls and most international sites have been given over to selling Chinese tourist crap, which was a little disappointing if not unexpected. The ticket price to get in is an astronomical 100 kuai, so I don't expect to be going back anytime soon. This place could be really great, if only they put a little more effort into it. I would like to have seen it in 99, when I'll bet it was much better than today.
|Peacocks wander the grounds. You can take your picture with them if you fork over some dough.|
|The Lovely Peacock. Peacocks are native in south Yunnan, and are a symbol of the Dai people (who have a really beautiful Peacock Dance; one of my Dai students performed it once at a student party).|
|Here's a replica of the boat of [surname] He, the only famous seafarer in Chinese history. His is a great story, you should look him up!|
|One of the many fascinating items on display in the China culture hall.|
|Oh, that's a nice photo. :-P|
|Here's the Rui posing in a hothouse.|
|Ride 'em, cow -- er, beargirl! The Swedish exhibit was one of the nicest, and was geared towards kids. We felt right at home.|
|Taking a break among the flowers.|
|See, I didn't take any photos of the international exhibits. However, when we reached the China ones, I couldn't click away fast enough. Too bad we had already wasted most of the day by the time we got to them.|
|Here's the exhibit of some other province. I didn't keep track of which was which.|
|This is a really cool gate... a loop carved out of marble. I want one of these if I ever get a house again.|
|This was a nice garden...|
|Some old folks enjoying the afternoon sunshine...|
|Here's the entry to the province that's known for its porcelain, but I can't remember what province it is.|
|More of the porcelain province place.|
|Speaking of getting another house, I want to get some island property and build a Chinese house. I love the construction.|
|This is from the Yunnan exhibit. They didn't really have a garden, and no building; they had a sculpture flanked by a semicircle of these totem poles.|
|The Yunnanese totems...|
|Monkey chair in the Yunnan exhibit. If I could ship one of these to the US for Andy's yard, I would.|
|I knew this was Beijing even before Ruirui told me.|
|A mini replica of Tai Shan mountain, province unremembered.|