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Where I stayed
JingPo village and hotel
In the days it's either unbearably hot or it lashes it down. We do a bit of walking about the surrounding countryside which has tropical forest interspersed with watermelon fields and rubber trees. The JingPo people live alongside another minority, the Dai people who are avid buddhists. One day we are walking past the watermelon fields and they give us a couple of watermelons to eat as it's absolutely boiling, which was nice
Even though it was a tough experience I think it was worthwhile. We met some other travelers in Laos who had stayed a night in a homestay there and they complained that the people had a tv and a satellite dish and electricity so couldn't be that poor. The village we were in had a satellite dish and tv but we learnt also that most of the JingPo kids don't have an education past the age of ten. There were hardly any teenage girls in the village as they had been married off to other parts of China for a dowry. We later learn that the mother of the family we were staying with was not about as she had been charged with carrying drugs over the border from Myanmar to get more money for the family. A sad story. All these things we would not have picked up on had we have stayed for but a night and not had a guide with us.
Going to the Myanmar border was interesting too if a bit intimidating. Not many westerners venture here so we got a lot of stares. There were some friendly people however. We wonder across a buddhist temple and a friendly monk invites us in for some squash and some biscuits. Hell of a nice bloke - called Samuel.
Off to Jinghong next and a gruelling 30 hour bus ride - which turns into a gruelling 34 hour bus ride.