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Last Days In Jinghong

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Joe, a gregarious Dai tour guide who hangs out at the tourist haunts looking for business invited me to join him and his family and friends, including a young French couple, at the new BBQ restaurants on the road along the river…the ones we couldn’t find before. His English was great and we shared many ideas. “My heart is breaking with the pollution in the environment,” he said. I told him about Amy’s International School and it’s mission to bring east and west together. Not against each other, he asked? No I said, entwining my fingers. Together. He liked that, as he entwined his own fingers. I told him he had one foot in each culture. He liked that too. Then he wrote a C on one shoe and a W on the other shoe as we laughed.

It is the Spring Festival here and fireworks are going off everywhere. Over 20-40 small dishes (river snails, cow’s skin, river moss and the like) we raised small glasses of beer too many times to shouted toasts…first among ourselves (we women toasted to our beauty…!) and then with a group of about 20 Anhi teachers sitting at the next table.

The next day a German woman and her son, who is getting an advanced degree in business in Hangzhou (SW of Shanghai), invited me to go with them to a small village on the other side of the Mekong River by ferry and then tuk tuk. She is here, like me, visiting her progeny. Her son has been here three years and is fluent in Mandarin…as are many of the Westerners I’ve met here. A group of American high school girls here in Jinghong on break from on a one year exchange program in Beijing to learn Mandarin amazed me with their ability to speak the language…their futures will be bright with opportunities.

I will be glad to leave the An Ya Jiu Dian Hotel, however. It is newer…clean and very nice with satellite TV and a hot and cold water cooler for about $7…and friendly owners. It’s just up the street from the western-oriented Mei Mei Restaurant on Man Lan Lu. But there is a restaurant down an ally behind the hotel…outside my window…that starts up about midnight…with many shouted toasts…and finally subsides about 3am. Ear plugs only take the edge off.

No lack of internet cafes on this street!

And I won’t miss the Asian toilet, if you know what I mean. The shower head is above the open-hole toilet in the floor so one must be very careful where one steps.

This And That In China

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

If there is anything a foreigner knows about China, it is that he or she knows that she knows nothing.

Today an American woman went to the Blind Massage School for accupuncture…but they don’t do accupuncture on foreigners. She doesn’t know why. Two different internet cafes refused me today even though I had been going to them before. I don’t know why. Meo! (No!) The price boards in the hotels show 680 Yuan but when they offer you a room it is lowered to 50 Yuan. Who gets to pay 680? No one knows. Some hotels won’t take foreigners at all. No one knows why.

Many Chinese are adamant about getting rid of that extra fluid in their throats. So they hack and spit…wherever they might be…trains…restaurants…on the floor next to their chairs in the internet cafes…

A Canadian wanted to go to Shanghai from Beijing a few weeks ago during the worst of the storm in China. A small boy with some English was willing to help him find the right window at the train station. But the vendor said she knew English and sent the boy away. The Canadian and his wife spent 30 hours on the train. When the train reached it’s destination they climbed off the train. But only when they looked at a menu in a restaurant they realized that they had gone to Xian instead of Shanghai. The ticket seller at the train station hadn’t understood them at all. So they looked at the unearthed soldiers or whatever they are called in Xian while they waited three days to get train tickets to Shanghai.


Just Hanging Out

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Yesterday an older woman from Ireland and I tried to find the Night Market at the end of the bridge over the Mekong River where you used to be able to get great BBQ meat cooked over coal fires. ... [Continue reading this entry]

High Tech In China

Monday, February 18th, 2008
I have not been able to access Wikipedia or the external links to Blogspot and Bootsnall blogs since I have been in China. My daughter-in-law who lives in Beijing says that she often can access Wikipedia by going to ... [Continue reading this entry]

On To Jinghong

Thursday, February 14th, 2008
Too cold to do anything in Kunming so am flying out today to Jinghong in the south of China where it is reportedly warm. Was in Jinghong in the tropical Xishuangbanna Region in December 2004 when it was much warmer than this ... [Continue reading this entry]