bus station hotel
(the one with the orange roof is mine)

i tried the faucet this morning and still no hot water. fustrated (i think i've only had one hot shower, and it was the first very time i stayed at this hotel, the rest have been cold showers), i packed up everything, got dressed, and went out to find a new hotel. i went to one next door. the ladies manning the front desk seemed annoyed that anyone would want a room so early in the day (10am). they told me to go upstairs and check out the rooms myself. i tried the faucet. cold water. is there no hot water in this town? disappointed, i went back to my hotel and confronted them about the hot water situation. they told me they had both a boiler and a solar-powered heater, and that if i wake up between 7-8am i'm guaranteed a hot shower, likewise, if i take a shower in the middle of the night, between 12-1am, that's when the boiler kicks in. seeing my fustration, the lady told me i can change my room to one that's located more strategically along the hot water trade route. i agreed, went to the new room, turned on the faucet, viola! hot water! excited, i went back downstairs to make my room change official. i returned to my room and took a soothing hot shower. victory!

then i went to the internet cafe, as part of my daily jinghong morning ritual. when i came back to the hotel, a little girl tried to grab my hand. i quickly pulled away and glared at her, shouting, "what do you want?!" scared, she backed away. something about threatening a little girl with physical violence didn't sit well with me, like i some how crossed some invisible line. china has made me mean. i only did it because the day before, i saw the same little girl grabbing a hold of a man's leg, and wouldn't let go until he gave her some money. but still, it seemed wrong. i've seen the same effect on other foreign tourists: seemingly well-mannered when they first arrive in china, soon they realize in order to anything done, you can't be too polite, and very often you have to be rude. standing in line? the chinese don't do that! littering? go right ahead! saying thank you and please? not necessary!

the only thing i had scheduled today was a visit to the tropical flower & plants garden. i wanted to go yesterday, but feeling a bit under the weather, i stayed mostly indoors instead. with the weather much better, i was compelled to go out.

the garden was surprisingly light in visitors, which was perfect. unfortunately, for some reason, the profusion of flowers i thought i'd see didn't really happen. there were a few flowers, but i think it's getting late in the season (although in tropical jinghong, are there really seasons anyway?).


besides the flowers, there were some critters. when i saw my first skink i freaked out. they run so fast and they're pretty large (the one i saw was a good 7-8 inches), i thought it was a snake for a second. i've seen skinks before though, in cambodia; they're supposedly harmless and eat a lot of pests so local people love the skinks.

colorful spider

rhinoceros beetle

after visiting the garden, i called my hunanese friends. the brother came out to bring me back to their house, where i met his parents (i actually met his mother the night before), his wife, his two kids, and his sister (whom i already met as well). i hung out at their place for the rest of the day, even being invited to have dinner with them. they lived on the grounds of an elementary school, but for all practical purpose it was a little farm (the school apparently has more property than just school buildings, which they rent out for profit), along with a fish pond they share with a few other families. i chatted with the father, who had all sorts of questions about america. he was also very patriotic, being that the family was from hunan, the home of chairman mao himself. mao posters adorned an entire wall of the house.

they showed me the quails they were raising (for food, not for pets), about a thousand.

for dinner, instead of soup, the father poured me a rice bowl of white wine made from corn. the alcohol content is probably around 40%, and i became light-headed just smelling the stuff. it was a good dinner, and i told them it was honestly the best meal i've had in jinghong. the brother went to store after dinner, while the sister walked me home. i asked her about the rose tattoo on her arm. she said she got it on the street, and of course her parents were angry when they found out.

thankfully i had an escort home, because i probably would've ended up in a ditch somewhere. walking with a wobble, i made back to the hotel, took a cold shower (where's the hot water, damn it?), and then went straight to bed.