It was a pretty busy day for us Kunming. We went to the Kunming Museum where I was amazed to see that there is an entire section of the museum dedicated to Flying Tigers & Hump Pilots complete with pictures and descriptions of all the veterans in our group, as well as plenty of displays with old uniforms and equipment.
After touring the museum, we settled into a room to conduct a press conference featuring a handful of the veterans. Once the Q&A session concluded we piled back into the buses and went to a nice restaraunt for dinner. The dishes were good and served on one of those tables with a rotating center. One of the dishes was a spicy soup that reminded me of Thai food. Apparently they really like their spicy food in Yunnan.
The next stop after the meal was a Sunday church service. This was a pretty unusual stop – religion is not practiced in China the way it is in the U.S. You actually have to get a special permit to open a church in the first place and can get into trouble for unauthorized religious practice.
When we arrived at the church we were greeted with much fanfare before the service began. Some aspects of the service were very familiar, others were pretty unique. They also gave each of us a bible printed in Chinese.
The service lasted for about 2 hours and then it was back to the hotel to rest for about an hour. Then came a formal banquet & honorary citizenship ceremony hosted in the hotel, with many representatives from the Kunming government present including the mayor of Kunming.
All of the veterans in our group were made honorary citizens of the city of Kunming. It was a very touching ceremony. After that, the banquet began. There was something like 8 courses, all of them were excellent – even the fish, which I’m not normally a fan of. The only thing I passed on completely was the shrimp. During the meal, the government representatives made their way around the room, meeting and toasting each of the veterans and their family members.
Once the ceremonies and banquet ended, it was time to get packed and get to sleep because we had another very early flight.