Archive for July, 2008

07th Jul 2008

Day 8 – Back in Jinghong

We are back in Jinghong and plan to spend about three more days here. We left for the weekend to head to the Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve, which is home to a herd of about 22 asian elephants. Sadly, we saw no elephants. We did see flood waters in the river and heavy rain. In terms of animal wildlife, there were a pair of gibbons that made the area around our treehouses their home. Very fun animals. The waters were too high for the elephants to come around, but in general the stay was peaceful and allowed us to get a couple good nights of sleep. Plus we got to live in the rainforest for a couple nights.

There were some things about the nature reserve that I found a bit odd. Like the park employee that pointed out earthworms crawling across a path and then proceeded to torment one of them by stepping on his tail. Also, the park employees who sold fruit and the ever-present cup of noodles across the river from our treehouse, would at the end of each day dispose of the trash (fruit rinds, plastic bottles and cup of noodle remains) by dumping it into the river . . . that ran through the nature reserve. I found that a bit odd and sad.

Also strange though not bad, just funny, was the Chinese travel agent who arranged our stay in the treehouses. He was particularly concerned that we would not be able to sleep due to all the noise around the treehouses. Our particular treehouse was about 20 feet above a rushing river, that was the noise he was concerned about. Honking horns, buzz saws and hammers in the cities don’t seem to be a problem but that annoying sounds of running water and nature were a big concern.

We have arranged to stay in Jinghong for a few more days and then fly to Lijiang. The next available flight isn’t until the 10th, but when we realized that it would take us two nights to get their by bus (and probably a full 24 hours on a bus) we decided to take the flight. Especially since whether we take a bus or a plane we’d still arrive in Lijiang on the 10th.

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03rd Jul 2008

Day 5 – Jinghong

I am currently sitting in the cute and homey Mei Mei Cafe, where they have coffee, American breakfast and free internet. Seems funny to travel to the edge of China and order hash browns, but I’m not complaining.

The train trip was painless. Met an interesting Chinese-born American citizen named Tommy who lived in Kansas City for 14 years. Nice guy, who turns out to be moving to Xiamen to study at the University there.

We arrived in Kunming on Wednesday. Tony commented on how strange it was that the river in Kunming seemed to go right up to the buildings. That was seconds before we realized that most of the city was flooded. After a wet walk from the train station to our hotel, we managed to find some food and bus tickets to Jinghong. Actually, Tony found the bus tickets. I took a nap. Sitting on a train for 40 hours seems to tire me out.

Our bus journey from Kunming to Jinghong was hair raising at times, but overall fairly uneventful. Now, the plan is to check out the surrounding areas of Jinghong. Xishuangbanna, the region we are in, is fairly similar in culture to northern Thailand. It’s very lush and green and feels very different from other parts of China. I’m updating the google map that I linked to below. The green lines show where we’ve traveled so far. More soon!

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