Kunming post #1 - Pingyao!
Eventually, got out of Beijing on a filthy hard sleeper overnight train and headed south to the small walled city of Pinyao. This is definitely on the backpacker route through China and we stayed in a youth hostel with all the western amenities. Pingyao was an important banking center in the 15th century, but luckily it was forgotten about and retained its old buildings to now be known as one of the best preserved old cities in China.
We did nothing here except walk around the two main streets of the old part and eat and drink. The local specialties we had on our last night proved to be particularly tasty - mountain noodles which is first dipped in either a spicy or tomato sauce, sanxi shaomai dumplings and all washed down with local tonic wine.
WE didn't see many kids in Beijing but there were lots wandering around the streets here. From toddlers to 5-year-olds all had the back of their britches slit open to help with toilet training - a very environmentally friendly method to avoid nappies!
The stuff in the glass is tea, believe it or not which proves to be more expensive than beer and maybe wine depending on which leaves you ask for - that's China for you!