Many friends and family members are worried about us and been asking if we have gone back to Hong Kong. We are still in Yunnan and have kept them updated that we are doing okay. We are so grateful for all the support and care. Thank you guys.
We learned about the coronavirus when we were in the middle of our stay in Yuanyang(元陽). As there were not many visitors in the remote village, so it did not affect us and we carried on visiting beautiful places and enjoying the terraces.
We arrived at the provincial capital, Kunming(昆明), just before the Chinese New Year and we could immediately feel the magnitude of the situation. We found one of the biggest cities in China basically empty with most things shut down and many people wearing masks.
We distinctly had this feeling of the calmness before the storm hits. So we knew that we had to get out of the deserted city.
So we drove three hours south to the ancient town Jianshui(建水縣), where it should also be warmer. We arrived the little town just when the epidemic became full blown and people were in panic.
On the day we arrived, we were required to have our body temperature measured three times, one by the highway department when we exited the highway, then by the police just before entering the town, and finally when we were checking into the guesthouse.
The atmosphere in Jianshui is much better than Kunming. Jianshui has a small local population and it does not have any international hotels, not even the omnipresent McDonald’s. The ancient part of Jianshui that is inside the walled city is rather quaint and dotted with little alleyways, temples and dated government buildings. It is usually booming with tourists during this time but it is now quiet with all the tourist destinations, shops and restaurants being closed.
At first, life could carry on as usual but then, the government has ordered all businesses to close. We are lucky to have rented a spacious apartment just before all hotels and guesthouses were not allowed to accept any guests.
Jianshui does not have any Coronavirus case yet and the town has stopped all outsiders to come in and everyone is required to wear masks outside. We feel somewhat safe but still take all the necessary precautions when going out. Our most frequently visited spot is the Walmart supermarket near our apartment. As life here is still mostly rural, the locals are not used to supermarkets. So we find the Walmart empty and almost all to ourselves. Seeing the abundant supply of food and everything, we cannot help feeling uneasy knowing people back home are panicking and supplies in Hong Kong are running low.
We took the rare chance to visit some beautiful places Jianshui offers and we were always the only souls. There is a lot of open space and we are really grateful that we made it here during this frightful time.
Slowly, we come to love our new home more and more. We take walks around the lake next to the apartment and also use this break to re-arrange everything in our van.
We will lie low for a while but yet to live our life full in this ancient town which is famous for its past academic culture and architecture.