Songeer to Damenglong

30th July 2004.

Day two of the trek and we were hoping the road would disappear. It had been an interesting and pleasant trek but we were expecting it to be slightly more remote.

... but no first thing in the morning this motorbike sped passed with a couple of Han Chinese in suits and yellow plastic helmets.

Two observations

1) how did a whole nation become convinced that these cheap crappy plastic helmets will save them?

2) We think they might be steel factory workers or digger drivers from how well they were dressed.

It was hot. Too hot for Water buffalos to be in the sun.

They looked at us as if we were crazy walking around this heat.

The local kids were happy but not very well off. They seem to be chewing on some sort of grass here and it definitely isn't sugar cane.

I think we've found the problem. Power lines bring power. Power brings machinery. Machinery shags primary forests.

The power lines came in 2004 and there are new areas of swidden farming, slash and burn, agriculture. You can see a newly cleared area of primary forest on the top of this hill.

The whole of Northern Laos and SW China is full of huge butterflies and after 2 weeks we finally got a decent photo.

This weeks cover of "Farm Machinery and Half Naked Chicks" features Claire. No stranger to farm machinery, after being raised in the 'Shire she is known to have a bit of thing for huge, throbbing diesel motors and this puppy is sure to please.

The water was so bad that we had to distil it several times after boiling and purifying it.

Note the concentration face!

They seem to be planting rubber trees everywhere and tapping them after the boom, maybe they know something we don't?

We hitched a lift to our bus and then had a row with the driver who wanted to charge us an obscene amount of money for the hitch!

We finally got on the very bumpy four hour bus back to Jinghong ready to catch buses and trains to Xi An.

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