National Geographic : 1946 Aug
Kunming, Southwestern Gateway to China Feeding Noodles to Baby Is Great-grandmother's Slow and Slippery Job By patient use of chopsticks, the old one succeeds in getting all the precious food into the child's mouth. Baby's homemade cap is trimmed with embroidery and appliqued designs. the Hump, with its bitter cold forming dan gerous ice formations on the wings and its violent 100-mile gales tossing the planes about like matchsticks, the "high ceiling" and tran quil sunshine of Kunming plateau gave welcome relief to tired crews and nervous passengers. Christmas Is Independence Day December 25 each year is celebrated as Independence Day in Kunming, for it was on this day in 1914 that the Province of Yunnan announced its separation from the Chinese Empire. Every year since then, on Independence Day, the Chinese in Kunming have staged celebrations of such colossal size and intense fervor that people come from miles around to witness them. Few celebrations in China, even during peacetime, can compare with Independence Day on Chin Pi Lu. The enormous crowds are closely packed across the thoroughfare. Traffic through the city is completely snarled. During the war it mattered not to the delirious Chinese that much of the traffic was convoys of food and ammunition moving toward the front. As the huge man-borne monsters, so typical of Chinese celebrations, appear, Oriental bands blare forth shrill music, and the happy crowds help frighten away the evil spirits by lighting huge bunches of earsplitting firecrackers. Important merchants along the main street hang a few thousand firecrackers above their stores. As the hated monsters approach, the firecrackers are set off. The resulting din, together with the dense smoke and acrid odor, stuns the monsters who, after a bitter struggle, "lose face" and back off as the crowds cheer. From rooftops and windows, from crude stone steps and rickety balconies, Chinese jostle each other for a better look. Down in the street little boys and girls climb the flimsy swaying trees that line Chin Pi Lu and enjoy ringside seats at no extra cost. This is the only day of the year which the industrious Chinese here celebrate so enthusi astically and completely, for such is the eco nomic pressure, brought on by spiraling infla tion, that there is little time in Kunming for anything but work. Two Mammoth Arches To me the most unforgettable sight on Chin Pi Lu is two massive stone arches with their quaint architecture, impressive tiled roofs, and glittering Chinese lettering of gold leaf or painted gold.