i spent the rest of my jinghong hours in my hotel room, after quickly visiting white elephant lake. i tried to finish as much perishable snacks as possible: when it finally came time for me to leave, i gathered up my stuff and went downstairs to make a lengthy good-bye speech, something about how thanking them for taking care of me and if i ever come back to jinghong, i'd definitely stay at that hotel again.

jinghong siesta

the sleeper bus to jianshui wasn't like the first sleeper bus i took from dali to lincang: this one was older and didn't have a tv. also i failed to mention that since everyone sleeps head-to-toe, it's kind of smelly when you have chinese feet inches away from your head, and all it takes is one person who thought it was a good idea to have a big cabbage meal before taking the sleeper to make the ride into a nightmare.

we left jinghong around 5pm and even though i didn't want to, i found myself falling asleep, my legs wrapped around my bag in case somebody should try to steal my camera or passport. at simao there was a military inspection: guys wearing camouflage came onboard the bus and searched everyone, looking for heroin, since we just left a border town. one man had a set of brass knuckles. the soldier tapped it into his hands a few times, said "this is dangerous," and threw out the weapon out the door. the guy next to me got felt up. when it came my turn, i was afraid i'd get the same treatment, and i'd have to show them my hidden money belt. the guard said something i couldn't understand after he saw my US passport, probably asking if i was a foreigner. the content of my bag was enough to occupy all his search time. he opened up my journal and went through the pages, paying especial attention to a flower i had found in the hills of litang. the guards didn't search any of our bigger luggages, and everybody knows the correct way to smuggle drugs into china is by swallowing balloons of heroin anyway.

soon it became dark, and when i wasn't sleeping, i looked out the window at the myriad of familiar stars in the clear dark sky, counting a few shooting stars as well. we stopped around 9pm to have dinner at some roadside rest stop in the town of pu'er. i decided to remain on the bus instead of go eat. the trip was long - two drivers took shifts - but the road was many times better than the dirt roads of xishuangbanna, so i slept soundly. the rattling of my plexiglass window failing to disturb me in the least.

just a few more hours before my 5pm bus to jianshui. i already paid the hotel half a day's rent to stay a little bit longer. after logging my hour at this here internet cafe, i'm off to find breakfast (rice noodles!), to buy a t-shirt, and to take a quick stroll of the white elephant lake park nearby, before finally returning to the hotel and hope that the underwear i washed last night will be dry by the time i leave. a little beggar girl tried to get some money from me this morning, with her puppet mother watching from a short distance. i didn't threaten her with violence, but politely pushed her away. maybe she knew i was a lost cause and didn't pursue the matter any further.

it's a sleeper bus, but i never know what i'm going to get. not even sure how long the trip is going to take, but i know i'll definitely be in jianshui by tomorrow. maybe there'll be some hot chicks on the bus again.