BAOSHAN, TENCHONG,DALI, LIJIANG
I set out this month to travel a bit around China. This trip took me to Baoshan, Tenchong, Dali, and Lijiang. My first “road trip” in my little car which did nicely. The whole trip was 1200 km and I was traveling 1 week.
First stop was Tenchong by way of Baoshan. If you know your history, China fought the Japanese for control of the Burma Highway and Stillween River. This was a key point for the Japanese to move supplies into Burma and Thailand during their invasion on WWII. The US “Flying Tiger” squadron was key to the Chinese success in the battle which led to the Japanese defeat. The Chinese have strong feelings of gratitude to the American forces who helped them here.
The travel from Baoshan to Tenchong (Burmese border) is nothing short of amazing. It took 5 hours to drive 150km through the mountains. A very crude 2 lane road winds it way along the mountains. In most places I am 4000′ from the valley floor. You can see villages dotted all along these mountains for miles. The scenery is quite dramatic and you move along at about 25 mph. In a few places the road opens up where you can go the posted 50 mph. But of course I jammed it up to 80 mph and soon found myself caught in a radar trap. The police were not amused, nor did they care that I could not speak Chinese. I was getting my first ticket for speeding. Three policemen were at hand to “process” my ticket. As they were doing the paperwork, Rong was talking to one policeman. Quickly he tore up my ticket, and we were on our way to Tenchong! Rong later explained to me that she simply made the policemen understand that she not happy with them giving me a ticket and she would have to call her good friend Mr. Li to discuss this with them. Mr. Li happens to be the division commander for the Chinese Army that controls all of eastern China. The police want no problems with the army!
After spending a few days in Tenchong, we headed back over to Baoshan and into Dali. Going back this same route, we had to stop at the military checkpoint for inspection. This is the key transport route from Burma, and a major source for coccaine traffic from Burma into China. As we were being “inspected” with great interest because I am a “non- chinese” guy, Rong explains to the military man she is a good friend to Mr. Li. Instantly we are directed to the command post off the road and invited to wait inside. 10 minutes pass and a man enters who immediately gives us a warm welcome. It is Mr. Li who by luck was in the area and once learning Rong was at this checkpoint, drove to meet us there. So now we all go to lunch together. There was about 7 officers and Rong and me all having a great visit. The army people were waiting on us hand and foot, taking pics of me with Mr. Li. After lunch, Mr. Li took us to the army base where he showed me all the drugs they confiscated at this checkpoint. It was quite an experience to see behind the scenes of the Army business here. I took a pic of me with Mr. Li (in the green uniform) and the other two people are the post commanders.
I spent the next several days in Dali and Lijiang. A lot of beautiful sights and things to do in these cities. Lijiang is home to the Naxi minority people. I visited the “Old Town” which is over 1000 years old. While there I found hand made solid copper cookware. One pan alone takes 1 week to make. I bought several pots and pans the set me back about $90. Just one of these items would be over $150 in the USA! Now I’m ready to do some gourmet cooking………
Ok, so it is my custom to report my expenses. 1 week of travel, 7 nights in 4 star hotels, meals, fuel, tolls, and everything including all the stuff I bought………….. $450.00.
Next month…………. going to Thailand!