menghai bus station
i arrived in menghai this afternoon in xishuangbanna. the past few days have been a whirlwind of epic bus hopping.
i left lancang this morning. though my bus ticket said 8am, the 8am never showed up so i had to get the next bus (9:30), one that was leaving for jinghong (my final destination in xishuangbanna, but i'm not due there until the end of the month). besides the children who get to ride for free, on this particular bus there were also flimsy boxes bound with strings. i had a hunch what was inside but it wasn't until the boxes started moving that my suspicion was confirmed: chickens! or as i like to call them, avian flu in a box. although to be honest, one man had a rooster in a sack. the view outside was very pleasant, tropical green mountains with the occasional terraced gardens. once again i had a window seat, and caught brief glimpses of exotic birds, butterflies, and flowers. can't wait to do some jungle naturing!
the bus from lancang to menghai took 4 hours. for some reason i thought it'd only take 2 hours, so when we passed by a town that looked a little bigger than a standard chinese village, i thought that was menghai, and figured i'd missed my town, on my way to jinghong instead. the driver must've been surprised when i asked him, "where am i?" when we finally arrived at the menghai bus station.
since i was already there, i bought a connecting bus ticket to xiding for tomorrow, since there's supposed to be a big thursday market worth seeing. i crossed the street to the first hotel i saw and got a room. the manager pegged me for a foreigner right away, and when i joked "do foreigners get charged more?" he just laughed and didn't say anything. not as cheap as lancang, but for RMB$80 it's still one of the cheapest places i've stayed in china, plus it has air conditioning and a western toilet.
my menghai hotel
i showered, then did some laundry, then went out to find lunch (i settled for some cold noodles from a street vendor outside the hotel) after wandering the town for a while (i found a big market place which i later read about in LP). after a bit of resting (trying to figure out my xishuangbanna hiking route), i went out for dinner, stopping by a bookstore to buy a more detailed map of the area and getting some stamps.
this is a nice and quiet internet cafe. i'll try to post some photos tomorrow. i see it's already dark outside. there are no street lights apparently - hopefully i make it back to the hotel alive!