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Menghai, Menghun, Mangshao, Nanluoshan N Gasa

* well, here is where I must explain why there are no photos of such a great day. In Jinghong, accross from the 'Peoples Hospital' you'll find a little Kodak shop. Go there, grab the long haird git by the shirt and ask him where my photos are! GRRR! Whilst driving his keyboard down the speedway he somehow changed not only the format of my photos, but also my memory stick and then lost the lot. So now I'm a memory stick less as my camera won't read the new format.

Argh, could of been worse, I could have lost an eye the previous evening due to a three year old throwing fire crackers at me and running off to then throw more at the monks who were throwing them at each other. Anyhow, read on...

  • **Photos added Monday, 3rd April 2006. There are only some from the morning before Judy's camera also ran out of batteries. Sadly hers aren't the type you can buy at a local store...now you can read on...

Sunday, 29th January 2006 - NEW YEARS DAY

For some reason in our moments of sobriety the previous evening we all decided it was a fantastic idea to hire a car and a guide and get out of bed before 7am. Yep, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt! Oh, too early for life but somehow I dragged my beer butt out of bed and rose at 6:59am to sit for noodles with Nick and Shannon (the young Aussies I met in Dali last summer) and be ready for the driver around 8am. By that time life had kicked in and the day could begin. Our first stop was two hours away in a town called Menghun at the local market place.

In China most local markets are pretty much the same, but what made this one special were the colourful local clothes worn by the women of the local minorities such as the Akha, Laha, Bulang and the majority minority the Dai. Such colour, such beauty and such a pain in my beer butt that my batteries died. I ran from little stall to little stall buying batteries that wouldn't even turn my camera on. That's a real BUGGER! In the end I left defeated and on the way up the street I finally found some alkaline batteries. Four of them lasted for the next half a day. Ya gotta love the Chinese Duracell batteries! I did begin my holiday with my rechargeable batteries but once flat they only work...if you remember to bring your re-charger! I didn't!

The second stop was to the local Dai Temple over looking the town. Another beautiful temple with beautiful views of the surrounding areas. Maybe Mc Donald's was started by a minority Monk from China. Here they have all the best views and the best real-estate in town, the same actually works for Mc Donald's in the cities.

The third stop was as a village named Mangshao. Here we visited a group of families whom all work together to produce roof tiles and paper...all by hand and all from scratch. We watched them cut the clay, stamp the clay, shape the clay and put the newly formed roof tile or brick into the sun to dry before it was taken to another family whom owned the kilns. Here in the scorching heat the women would but the trays of tiles etc in and after one month the women would unload the trays. The men, well, here in China most of them do as little as possible. Not all, but most. I know a million people have said it before but I'll say it again...I hope never to bitch and moan about any job I have now and in the future. I wouldn't last a week with the shear boredom and back breaking efforts required here. But just to let the reader know, a Foreign English Teacher usually makes more than most people in their town, but these families actually make a lot more than us. They work a hell of a lot harder but for three months work they make more than us in a year.

The fourth stop was to a town called Jingzhen to visit the Octagonal Pagoda built in 1701. Argh, 1701, when the English could happily steal bread and not worry about being sent to The Land Down Under. We weren't heard of and the Chinese were building pagodas. The Octagonal Pagoda, what can I say, it had eight sides and a big tree next to it. The actual highlight was watching and listening to the very young monks learning songs. It was beautiful to hear them laugh when they made a mistake and then tried to find the right key to begin again. On the walk down the hill we visited a family whom makes the little wooden carvings that make the Temple walls more beautiful. Rather interesting really.

The fifth stop was as a little Akha Village known as Nanluoshan. Just beautiful. We then headed towards Jinghong for a beautiful stop at a restaurant overlooking mountains that were once filled with rice fields. Now sadly they are filled with the Rubber Tree. The Rubber Tree Plantation is the latest cash crop for farmers here in the Xishuangbanna. Yes everyone must make a buck, but sadly they are very ugly. The lunch bill was rather normal compared to the last group lunch we had. That of 450 Yuan! This one for 5 people was under 50 Yuan.

The sixth and final stop was at a Dai village at a town known as Gasa. Here we visited our guide's friends who showed us around his house. This time I shall remember the inside of a Dai house, unlike 5 years ago at the Dai wedding when the family got us so drunk I can't remember the ride home. There was also a small temple thingamabob that was 400 or 700 years old or something but familles had covered most of it with some type of melon they were selling and loading onto trucks. We'd have a fence around it, the Chinese cover it with melons and use it as a seat, the Indians would leave it to become overgrown and forgotten.

So ended the days little adventure. I don't usually do stuff like hire a car to be driven to places but it was great to spend the day with Nick and Shannon before they head back to Australia to resume their lives at University. Sadly for them, one on the Gold Coast and one in Melbourne. The rest of the evening was spent reading at the Mekong and sharing a few beers with those whom dropped in for a chat.

A Day Trip With The Aussies (1)

A Day Trip With The Aussies (1)


A Day Trip With The Aussies (10)

A Day Trip With The Aussies (10)


A Day Trip With The Aussies (11)

A Day Trip With The Aussies (11)


A Day Trip With The Aussies (2)

A Day Trip With The Aussies (2)


A Day Trip With The Aussies (3)

A Day Trip With The Aussies (3)


A Day Trip With The Aussies (4)

A Day Trip With The Aussies (4)


A Day Trip With The Aussies (5)

A Day Trip With The Aussies (5)


A Day Trip With The Aussies (6)

A Day Trip With The Aussies (6)


A Day Trip With The Aussies (7)

A Day Trip With The Aussies (7)


A Day Trip With The Aussies (9)

A Day Trip With The Aussies (9)

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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