Jinghong: A stroll in the park - Touring in Thailand, Cambodia and China - CycleBlaze

February 6, 2008

Jinghong: A stroll in the park

For breakfast we go to the shop selling steamed dumplings across the street. The meat-filled dumplings and a bowl of hot soy milk are a great start for the day.

Breakfast
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The cooks
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Breakfast on the way to the office
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We don't have big plans for the day, just taking it easy. We start out with a visit to the Xishuangbanna Tropical Flowers and Plants Garden, a large and peaceful park. But to tell the truth, most of the specimens we see here grow even more luxuriantly in Thailand on the roadside with no care at all and no entrance fee. Not that the entrance fee was much - they even granted us the senior citizens rate without our asking.

Tropical Flowers and Plants Garden
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Men and Nature Mix in Harmony: Entrance to the Tropical Flowers and Plants Gardens
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Now it is time for us to make plans for the remaing four weeks of our trip. Jinghong is nice but its charms can't hold us too much longer. We will make one or two day outings from here and then ... don't know yet.

Here are some views from our hotel window.

Characterstic window and drying laundry
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View from hotel window
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Sitting comfortably at home several months ago, we had planned to cycle from Jinghong to Kunming, but sitting comfortably at home you can plan anything. When you are confronted with carrying out those plans it's a different story. I haven't been able to get much information on the availability of places to sleep on the intended route. What I do know is that it will be very hilly, I suspect too hilly for us. And I have again developed a bad cough.

Our final destination in China is Kunming, and from there we will return to Bangkok for our flight home. How to get there? We settle for a simple plan: from here we will fly to Dali and from there cycle to Kunming. We will just have to leave out the spectacular scenery and rice terraces between here and Kunming which I had been looking forward to. I must admit I am feeling kind of wimpy that we don't have the courage to just get out on the road and see if we could do it.

I notice that we have changed our travel style considerably on this trip. In Europe we like to keep moving. We cycle almost every day when we are on tour, cover distances, want to get somewhere. Here it's more the 'being there', whether in the saddle and on the road or pedalling around town. In other words we are doing much less cycling. There are reasons for this. So far our experience has been that cycling is rougher here, there are fewer comforts along the way and you have to go further to get away from unattractive areas surrounding cities and towns. We have pedalled on a lot of roads that didn't offer much in the way of scenery but it was the only way to get from A to B.

When I worked in China 15 years ago there was no Internet, or if there was it was not yet popular. Jinghong is not a big ciy but the Internet cafe that we have been using here resembles a Las Vegas casino, at least from the inside, with dim lights and big leather armchairs or sofas in front of the screens. There must be at least 100 computers in here, all very fast and with the newest screens on the market.

Working on our journals in the Internet cafe
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Tonight is New Year's Eve here. All day long firecrackers have been going off and by midnight they are making quite a racket. And then again at six in the morning of New Year's Day.

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