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Sanchahe Nature Reserve

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day to you Sunday, 5th February 2006

What I thought would be a boring and a waste of a day actually turned out to be pretty damn good. Most people I had spoken to said the Sanchahe Nature Reserve/Banna Wild Elephant Reserve was a waste of time. It's very unlike me to take peoples opinions of what is bad and actually listen to it. So off Judy and I went on the bus north to Simao. In China there really aren't designated bus stops until you get to a town or city. Anywhere on the side of the road is an actual bus stop. When we arrived we found we needed to be at the second gateway to the park. So we purchased our tickets and took the bus for five minutes and entered the park just as the Dancing Elephants began their thing.

The thought of it is so tacky but to actually watch six elephants dance and play soccer etc is an amazing thing. Whilst watching I wondered why humans train animals to act like humans and pay money to watch them perform human activities. When you think about it really is strange behaviour but we do it and it is fun. At one point two people were selected from the crowd and made to lie down on a plastic sheet on the ground. An elephant was led to them and made to walk over them. Firstly the elephant lifted one of its front legs and began to put it down right on top of the first man. Just a party trick of course but your heart jumps all the same. The elephant then gently put its foot on the groin region and began to rock its huge foot back and forth. Bugger that mate! It then completed its many steps over the two men and both were still three dimensional at the end.

We then took a stroll along the forest track that was lined with some of the most amusing Chinglish (Chinese English) signs I have come across so far. I welcomed the silence, it's a sound or non sound or whatever that you miss so much living in China. For several hours whilst in the reserve I heard no engine sounds or the constant sound of motor vehicle horns. I have asked several Chinese about this and yes, they are actually taught to use their horn constantly whilst driving to warn, thank etc. It's an amazing thing about Asia, but the other amazing thing about it is you actually don't realize that you don't notice it anymore until you spend several hours in silence. Rather frightening really.

To return to the parks main entrance we took the chair lift. Man, I thought the chair lift at Dali was great; this one goes for over 2 kms. It takes you up mountains and down into the valleys. It was just beautiful until you noticed how high you were at some points and then look at how the chair is actually fastened to the cable. Hey look, isn't that the river down there! One creates a new topic of conversation to relax ones own mind!

During the hours bus journey home the bus was filled with soggy boxes, sugar cane, rice, bags, a couple of chickens and many other things a family wanted to take home with them. Of course the elderly wife packed it onto the bus and then unloaded it at the other end. It was only when the floor was empty did the husband move from his comfortable seat. At one stage whilst loading it all onto the bus she forgot where the chickens in the sack were and threw a heavy box on top of them. We were treated to the horrid sounds of a dying chicken for the next ten or so minutes. Finally she reached into the sack and put it out of its misery. Our bus wound its way beneath the new freeway. At one stage we were at the same height and I was surprised to find it was finished, complete with the plants in the middle. In another year or less the bus trip to Jinghong will completely loose its Chinese ness if that is a word.

Dinner was a treat for me this night. We had found a Korean Cafe on our walk about around town. In fact, it is only 30 seconds walk from Mei Mei's Cafe. It's called Cafe 76 or something. I always thought it was the Chinese version of our western cafes. I've never seen a foreign person there and I'd rather go eat at the BBQ or street noodle places than sit in a Chinese version of our banana pancake serving cafes. One night whilst walking past it had a tiny blackboard out front. At the top it said 'Korean Type Restaurant'. We went in and I looked at the menu. You bloody ripper mate, was I in for a treat, it had Bibimba or Pibimba which ever you prefer, my favourite dish in the entire world (besides Tom Yum soup and Joutsa).

To save on toilet paper in Korea I lived on this dish. Even in Queensland whilst living on the Gold Coast I lived on Bibimba. There is a fantastic Korean/Japanese restaurant in Southport on the Gold Coast just across from the mall. Both places have actual Korean families cooking and serving the food. In this restaurant here in Jinghong the chef is from Seoul. During the afternoon we had met a lady and her 5 year old son. They were from America and she was over here teaching. Brave girl and lucky child! We met up for dinner. He ran around whacking people with his wooden sword and stabbing and throwing darts at the board no matter where his mother placed it. At one point it was in her hands at chest hight and he was happily throwing the darts towards it. Thankfully he was a terrible shot and missed both board and mother. We ordered Bibimba and a plate of Korean sushi. I was in heaven and to heaven I will return on several occasions! Judy and I spent the evening listening to music at the Mekong Cafe whilst playing cards. I had finally made my 1000 point turn around.

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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