Jinghong

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


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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Well, Lijiang was excellent, not only from a cultural experience, but also from getting to know the Naxi, Musuo and Tibetan peoples. Apparently during the last few weeks in Yunnan, there has been a drought, with excessively high temperatures, which will account for why the temperatures in Lijiang have been excessive. Even at the top of Jade Dragon Snow mountain, it was hot, and yes, it does have snow!

Yesterday I moved on to Jinghong, which is way down south in Yunnan, almost Vietnam, and Laos. The temperatures here are worse, with a humidity that also saps the local peoples, mostly of whom are of the Dai nationality. Jinghong or Yunjinghong to give it its Han Chinese name, is the capital of the Dai Nationality Prefecture.

Well, I hear you ask, what are you doing in Jinghong?

Well, its base for me for four days as I explore the Dai, Lahu, Bulang villages nearby, and visit a prospective project. Lots of cycling and or walking around in fields, forests etc, and a ride down the mighty Mekong River by bamboo raft, oh the life! Not!

The wildlife in China is certainly interesting, there are more dogs her than I thought there would be, mostly little dogs, like pugs, running around everywhere, but they are friendly enough, not even heard them bark at anyone, mind you at night in Lijiang was another thing. Trying to sleep as the dog choir sang was a delight - Not!

The deferent types of birds, their colours and the bird song each morning has often reminded me of the song that includes the verse 'The Purple headed mountain, the rivers running by, the sunshine in the morning He made them every one'. The sound of the cricket, and grasshopper also, just helps to remind you of the diversity of this wonderful world and its Maker.

A few days ago I saw walking around in the mountains north of Lijiang when I came across, some of what I had been eating a few days before, namely Yak, I even had a ride on it one in Yak meadow, which is three quarters of the way up Jade Draggon Snow Mountain. (A very shaggy Cow indeed - He's probably someone's dinner in a few weeks).

In the mountains the Yak and Tibetan pack horses, are used very often to move around, and as the seasons change, its possible to see villages moving just like the Indian films of the US.

Anyhow, back to Jinghong - today whilst having something to eat, I saw my first Chinese rat! They are a lot smaller than our Ratus, Ratus, or Ratus Norvegicus back in the UK, rather like a mix of a large field mouse and a gerbil only slightly longer and suffering with anorexia. Seemed a friendly chap, no where nearly as worried as UK rats, and nowhere near as frightening, he just sat around drinking water from the newly washed floor, then walked off, only to come back and have a look at the foreigner sat eating a burger, probably in the hope that I would leave him a little nibble - he was disappointed, so off he went happily.

Mind you the sight of a rat, whatever size when you are eating is a little off putting, and later I revisited my food, this time coming in the other direction! I'm just glad I decided not to stay at the Dai guesthouse that the lonely planet guide suggested. These are huts built on stilts, with a straw or rattan roof, open windows, and a taffeta style door. It is not unknown for rats to be known to come and sleep in your bedroom.

Conditions in and around Jinghong, are very basic indeed, toilets, well in the countryside there just aren't any, and in the cities, often you wish there weren't.

Who'd be called to a place like this??????.

Actually its not that bad, if you don't mind being sick occasionally. Today I travelled by bus part of the way, and for the first time actually found a cleanish toilet, apart from the hotels that is. Public lavs, just don't go there, often just a hole in the ground, with no flush, no water and often no paper - The moral is always carry tissues or wipes! Better still find a hotel, quality restaraunt or pay to use toilet, mind you they are not all they could be!

Today I had to go to the PSB (Public Security Buerea) office to get my Visa extended. There are two PSB offices in the town, and despite what the guidebooks say its not the one that is shown on the map, but never mind they happily direct you to the other office, its just a pity that they didn't the day before! The process was painless, and took less time than 30 minutes. There was an English speaking PSB official which helped.
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