Friday, 16 June 2017

Jinghong, China.

A name that promises more than it delivers. The small city (half a million, tiny by Chinese standards), is located in southern China, near the Laos border.

I arrived here ready to spend a day or two then head further into China to explore the Yunnan province, however, the fate of travellers intervened. My Thai debit card, which I had intended to use as my primary fund delivery system, was found not to operate in the Middle Kingdom (even though I had been assured that it would). Yikes! My aussie card did apparently work, but I had no money on the card. I immediately transferred $ into the aussie card, but then had to wait 4-5 working days for the $ to appear. Yikes. The things that happen. Apparently the problem was caused by a conflict between Visa and the Chinese Union Pay (UP), who are trying to capitalistically carve up the financial world between themselves.

Back to the story. Jihngon. Jinhong is pleasant small city. Apparently it has the rep in China of being a party town, but nothing can be further. This assessment of Jinghong is perhaps a reflection of what a serious and non-party nation China is. I was told that there are bars with 'people' you can meet. I suspect that wild women are intimated. Not really. I checked a few bars, compared to Pattaya—nothing. Jinghon is essentially the aforesaid pleasant town, with a diverse cultural background—which is to say it is on the cross-roads of centuries of migration and re-migration, with several languages spoken, a mix of Thai and Burmesse, with local variants.

The city in on the Mekong River. The 'new' part of town is on the east bank. This is where a huge new Buddhist temple is being built and the bars, restaurants, and such, that give the city the reputation, are to be found. Good food, but that is about it.

Things to see? Not a huge quantity. There is a park, Manting Park worth a look, several Buddhist temples, a museum, and so forth. If you are here yes, but not if you are not. Around the city are several ethnic villages, but you can see far more ethnic, and realistic villages in neighbouring Laos. I did discover a vegetarian restaurant on the north-west side of town. Great food, 15 rmb ($2) buffet! (22.0095 100.7825)

I stayed at the Travel Demo International Youth Hostel (21.9964 100.7925). 108 yuan a night for a pleasant, large room. Wifi was ok, though a tad slow sometimes, however I would recommend. I booked this through—my first time doing so. Worked well. Of course, this was my first re-experience with the dreaded 'Great Firewall'. Not a fun experience. Worse than before.

From here I plan to travel to Kunming and from their to the megalopolis of Guangzhou. If I can organise, I will take the 'bullet train'—300 kms an hour. Great fun. I visited GZ one time before, in 2013. If anything I expect it to be bigger and nosier. There I will meet a few friends and scout out the lie of the land as regards teaching opportunities. Also Hong Kong!

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