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Published: December 25th 2009
Merry Christmas to all. I hope this blog fines you all doing well.
I left China yesterday and I am back in Sapa, Vietnam right now. China was an interesting trip. It is such a large country that I barely saw any of it yet I spent a lot of time “traveling”. I spent 36 hours taking two train rides and about let see, hmm, 50 hours in buses and I a very small part of China. The people in China seem genuinely nice and they don’t appear to try to rip off tourists (Vietnam should take note). The weather was cool and at times cold. For you who know china I went from Hekou (a borer town with Vietnam) to Yuanyang ( known for rice terraces and minority groups) to Jianshui (for a night) and then to Kunming. From Kunming I took a bus to Dali (full of Chinese tourists) and then went to Shaxi to go to a weekend market, from there I traveled to Lijiang (lots of Chinese tourists) and then to Shangrala (not many tourists). It was a bit cold and I wasn’t prepared so I didn’t spend too much time here though I would have
liked to. From Shangrala I back tracked to Dali and then took a train to Guilin for a night before spending a few days in Yangshuo. The weather wasn’t the greatest and after 4 days I went back by train to Kunming and then headed back to Yuanyang for a few days. I left yuanyang two days ago and headed to hekou - it should have taken about 5 hours but it took 7.5 due to a flat tire and other “things”.
Getting back to the title - The great walls of China. There are literally “walls” around anything of interests, be it a scenic overlook, a historic site, an old temple or even an old tree. These walls all come with a gate and an admission fee. I think that if I would have gone to all the interesting places I would have spent twice as much as I did. This is not a good thing for a “backpacker” on a budget. The good news is that some of the best things are to visit the small villages and spend some time in the countryside which for the time being is free. As I said earlier, the people
in China are nice so it is fun to spend time getting to know them.
Back to the border crossing yesterday. There were several “bikes” full of goods crossing the border. When I say full of goods, the bikes were loaded to the max. The goods were either unloaded from trucks onto the bikes or the bikes were loaded with stuff from small stores which were nearby. The Authorities would let one bike cross every 5 to 10 minutes so people spent quite a bit of time waiting to cross (I’m sure they do this everyday). Once it is their turn to cross one person pulls on the front wheel while a couple of other people put their backs into pushing the bike. Once across the border it appeared that a lot of the goods were then loaded onto trucks once again. I’m not sure why the trucks just didn’t cross over from China since there were trucks loaded with goods that were crossing the border.
I hung around the borer for a few hours taking pictures. I wasn’t in a hurry to get to Sapa because I suspected it would be cold. I was wrong, yesterday was
probably the clearest day I have experienced in Sapa and it wasn’t cold. As soon as I got into town, I dropped my backpack off at Dave’s new galley, images of sapa (which by the way has some great photos for sale) and grabbed a motorbike and went out shooting (pictures not people).
This morning, Christmas morning, I woke not to the images of sugar plums dancing in my head but rather a jackhammer blasting in my ears at 7:00 AM! They’re tearing down the hotel next to mine. This morning was another fine day so I rented another motorbike (heck they’re less than $5 to rent) filled it with gas and took off. Through out the day I ended up giving several people rides from one village to another. Three of the rides were given to Red Zao women and the last to “jo” a Black H’mong women who was all dressed up in a Flower H’mong outfit. I’m sure I got some looks from the tourists going by in the mini vans.
If you made it this far, here is a link to some photos that I took in China. CHINA PHOTOS
Unfortunately they are
in random order right now. I’ll try to put them into chronological order but right not my WIFI is not working so I am going to try to see if I can find a signal so I can send this blog out tonight before my hotel locks the doors.
Happy New Year,
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