Hey Hey and a HELL G'Day toya Wasn't that the long distance bus ride from the very depths of Hell! Unfreakinbelievable! Twenty one freakin hours being tossed around in the back bed of the crappy little sleeper bus. I should change my name to 'Stirfry'. I've been tossed around enough to warrant it! The roads were horrible most of the way and we wound our way around and around, up and down, around and around, up and down and then around and around what I'm sure were every mountain on the planet. Why we chose the big back bed I don't know but I do know I will never choose it again. The four of us spent most of the night rolling into each other. It was fun for awhile but when it stopped being fun it became horrible. Poor Israeli was so green I thought she was going to die! The bus was full so we couldn't even move to any of the single beds. I must say though, Sleeper Buses! What a fantastic idea! Why don't we have them in Australia? What you have is a bus and inside you have like a squashed in version of a hostel dormitory. Our sleeper bus had two rows of bunks running along the windows with our big bed at the rear of the bus. We copped all the fumes and the sounds of the motor all night. Can't say I felt that great when we arrived. Mate, how beautiful is Jinghong? Ask me. Go on! As the sun finally got its butt out of bed and allowed us to see the world around us I thought I had rolled around so much during the night that I had banged my head and was seeing things. I felt like I was back in Australia driving around Port Douglas and the Daintree. It was absolutely stunning. When we arrived in Jinghong this afternoon we found a dorm at the Xishuangbanna Guesthouse and then went out to explore the city of palm trees. Wonderful, just wonderful! How beautiful is Jinghong! It is so much like Cairns in Australia in its 'Slow down mate. It will eventually get done' attitude. We found Mei Mei Café and sat to settle our nerves and bones with a beer and a huge feast. It was also great to see Israelis colour return. So far the four of us have really hit it off as travel friends which makes everything so much easier. Tomorrow, the bike ride into bliss! Beers N Cheers toya...shane ___________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was 'Remember Shakti' What an experience! ***** (2007) Since my first visit to The Banna seven years ago I have been lucky to have returned to this wonderful place in the world. So wonderful it is that I would say that it my favourite place on earth (besides the Gold Coast/Tweed Coast areas). Happily for anyone who wants to travel there now the bus ride is a hell of a lot different. My first visit, as you have read, it took twenty one slow stir frying hours winding around the mountains on a small sleeper bus. My second visit last winter (2006) it took me fifteen hours winding around mountains on much better roads on a bigger and must faster sleeper bus. Besides the bus there was also another big difference. As we wound our way around the mountains we were driving beneath a huge super highway on legs that when finished will take you STRAIGHT through the mountains to the border of Laos. I would say that now the new super highway should be finished. So my next visit, it should take somewhere around eight hours...more or less (maybe ?). The city still has a very laid back feel. Mei Mei's has moved and doubled in size and still serves the best food. Forest Café is still in the same place and hasn't changed at all and Sarah still makes the best burger in China. If she's not there don't order the burger as her brothers burgers are not as good! I made friends with the wonderful couple who run the Mekong Café. German Uli and his beautiful Chinese Dai Peoples wife, Vicky. We still email off and on and I hope to return when ever I find the time to travel to Laos and Cambodia. The Xishuangbanna Region mate...add it to your itinerary if you're thinking about travelling China. Forget Shanghai or Beijing or Zhongdian. Its Chinas answer to Thailand etc...extreme paradise!