Ruili - China/Myanmar (Burma) Border Area

Trip Start May 03, 2005
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Trip End Jun 08, 2005


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Sunday, May 22, 2005

20th - I've got my tickets, I'm heading to Ruili and perhaps to see Shang Wa, if I can find the village.

21st - The conference had finished the day before, and everyone else had left directly afterwards to catch either a train or a flight across China, back to their homes and or projects, it was 8.30am in the morning of the 21st, as I ate breakfast, in the Camellia Hotel in Kunming, when a little couple, who I had seen at the conference, but had not spoken to arrived for their breakfast. It turned out that they were leaving that day, and had stayed overnight as their journey would be rough and long over poor roads. I knew roughly about their village and its problems, as I had spoken to someone the day before about projects needing support, their village certainly does, they are dealing with HIV/AIDS, addictions, health problems, trying to fund a small school for minority children, etc. They spoke no English, yet we managed to communicate a little over breakfast, but it was at times frustrating.

The fight wasn't till 15.40, but we had to book out of our rooms by noon. Independently both they and I booked out with the intention of using the internet suite, and then waiting for a few hours at the hotel, before the journey to the airport and the flight. As a result, we found ourselves relaxing together in the pleasant surroundings of the hotel lounge, waiting for the hours to tick by.

As we waited they tried to ask me a number of questions. The man's English was limited to simple words, and my Chinese was no better, so we asked the receptionist if she would translate for us. We had worked out beforehand that we were both heading to the airport, and that we were on the same plane! They asked her to ask if I would like to travel with them to the airport, and perhaps further to Ruili. She was obviously concerned, but translated adding also that I should not do so. I let her know that I knew them, and that we had been at the consultation together, but she still advised me against it, and told me to watch my baggage, little did she know that were part of the family!

An hour later as we sat waiting for the transport to the airport, a black limo arrived, the driver came into the hotel and directly up to me stating hotel shuttle service. I asked about the others, and he shook his head. I spoke to the receptionist, who stated it was the hotel shuttle, I asked about the others also going to the airport, and she intimated that it was for me only, and that they would be along later on the shuttle bus. My friends said to go, so I went and had an air conditioned journey to Kunming International which took fifteen minutes in all, as we drove the driver, who spoke very little English, said that the car was for honored guest, I was amused.

Later at the airport, I met up with my friends (I still don't know their names), but they were pleased to see me. As we waited for check in, I could see that they were both very tired, and she fell asleep, the plane was delayed so it gave her a longer rest, till we boarded the plane. It was a one hour flight to Mangshi Airport, which is the airport serving the Dehong Prefecture of Yunnan Province. When we arrived I found out that they had arranged a car to take us all to Ruili, on route they tried to find out where I was staying, but I even I had no idea until I got there.

The driver seemed to be a friend of the couple, and intimated that I could stay at his house, but we had some difficulty communicating, so in the end after the two hour drive to Ruili, they dropped me at a hotel, where they refused to accept a gift towards the cost of the fuel, told me that they would love me to come to their village sometime, "(I love you come Lanchag)" to which I prommised I would do at some point in the next year, perhaps with a few friends. We said our goodbyes, and they then travelled on to their village, about 6 hours away, yet its only 250kms further on - the roads msut be rough!

Divine provision again.
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