the bus pulled in lincang station at 5am, but the driver didn't wake anybody else, letting everyone sleep for a few hours. i got off at 7am and checked the bus ticket schedule. there was a bus to lincang in 20 more minutes. feeling like i could endure another long bus ride, i bought the ticket and boarded the bus.
the trip to lancang was 8 hours long. for some reason there were equal number of children compared to adults: apparently kids don't have to pay so parents bring them along as live cargo, stuffing them where ever. one little girl sitting on her mother's lap kept on kicking me with her shoe, waking me from sleep everytime. at one point we had to cross a military checkpoint. a soldier got on the bus and made everyone show their identification papers. i handed him my US passport, figuring he'd realize his mistake (i'm an american, damn it!). once he was done checking, he told me to get off the bus. there was a murmur amongst the passengers. apparently all foreign tourists have to register because the area is so close to the burmese-laos-vietnam border. i returned to the bus but said nothing, letting the others wonder what exactly happened.
after 8 hours, the driver just dropped me off somewhere in the middle of lancang. my first order of business was to find a place to stay. lancang is not a tourist haven so the signs are all in chinese. thankfully i knew enough to recognize the characters for "hotel" and went into the first one i saw. for RMB$30 i could get an okay room with my own bathroom, but they were experiencing a blackout and i asked when i could take a hot shower and the man said, "maybe tomorrow morning." so i left that place and kept on searching. minutes later i saw the bus station, and right next to it, a fancy looking hotel. i asked how much. "RMB$60," the woman said, and before i could even say anything, she lowered the price, "but today's special is RMB$50." at that point i hadn't had a shower in over 24 hours and i was sticky with sweat - i would've taken anything. she showed me the room and i dropped my bag. "i'll take it."
view from lancang traffic hotel
after paying for the room, i went next to door to buy my ticket to menghai before going back upstairs to a relaxing hot shower. i soon fell asleep.
there wasn't a lot to do in lancang. some girls laughed at me because i was too courteous buying drinks from their kiosk, and the place i had dinner made me chicken noodle soup anyway even though it wasn't on the menu. coming back to the hotel, i saw a gecko on the wall. after another shower, i crashed on the king-sized. a lady called me in the middle of the night asking if i wanted "lady room service." i told her thanks but i wasn't interested and she giggled and hung up.