Wednesday, April 23, 2003

China Unmasked 3

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times?

Well, Monday morning, I rescued my ATM card only to have it still not work. I've got all the cash I have plus a loan from the bank of Mary Kay.

After accidentally spending $25 on brunch in the hotel where I got my card (not a good idea when you've only got $400) I took a cab to the airport, a bumpy plane to Kunming... sat around in the airport for 3 hours.. then took a plane to Jinghong, got a minibus to the $10/night hotel (which I hear someone else is only paying $5 for and I am being ripped off) and spent the evening getting sick (from my $25 brunch?). At least I have my own bathroom.

The next morning I got up and found a cafe where the guide I was looking for had moved to the US and there were no other tourists. Had some ginger tea and toast then found a place to send a whiny, panicky email to Mary Kay and became convinced I wanted to go home.

When I went back out in the afternoon... I found some other tourists from England, Germany & Canada and struck up some conversations. I also found the other guide that can take me to the Thursday market. So all is much better.

I went to some lame ass park where there were a bunch of peacocks, people representing the different minority groups in the area that were supposed to be dancing but just were sitting around listening to Chinese disco and then I was accosted by young girls who gave me a massage for $2.50, which was fabulous except My shoulders are sore from the one girls’ strong poky fingers. Ow...

The trek will be two days and will involve staying in a Dai family house, which is where Mary Kay stayed and heard the rats running around. Mm. Maybe it's not rat season anymore? Well, when in Xiding...

Last night I went by the night market at the foot of the Mekong river. People set up for you to shoot balloons, like at a carnival, a tent of young dancing girls in red skirts and little black bras who weren't really dancing but at least they weren't stripping, and Dai bbq. Pick out your fish wrapped in lemongrass or other meat and vegetable delights and they will cook it up for you right there. Also rows and rows of pool tables where people hang out and play.

Okay, I'm off to breakfast and then to try and cram 2 days of trekking requirements into a small backpack.

Catch up with you over the weekend.


I'll be back on Friday and have to let you know about it.

No comments: