23 May 2015.
An early rise and good french bread for breakfast. And on the road to the China boarder.
Our hotel last night in Oudamxay was simple and sufficient. Dinner was fun. We watched the street vendors cooking and selling their goods. A sense of achievement in getting to the end of the South East Asia part of the tour.
But again I am ahead of my self. In the car park of the hotel we had a good chat to some representatives form the nature conservation department, who are sponsored by WWF. Get a little bit of an understanding of the local economy and the environmental challenges of the region.
This all happened after we had a few hours of driving some of the worst sections of road works any of us had ever seen. Fifty or more kilometres of very hilly country with one continuous road works. Rocks piled up along one side and guys building drains and occasional sections of earth moving equipment. Lots of Chinese money being spent on road works and it looked like a hydroelectric power supply heading for the boarder.
And then for a little fun after a late lunch we worked on Mollie’s brakes again. Some improvement … Not completely fixed.
Early to bed and away by 7:30 am. To the China boarder. A good road, but lots and lots of tight bends.
Made it to the China boarder. After doing our best to get rid of remaining Lao Kip (money- or Pete referred to it as chickens … Because Kip is Dutch is chicken ). This was achieved by a very careful negotiation to buy 2 cartons of beer at street side stall and the remains on petrol. And as an added bonus we had a taste of what the petrol station attendants where snacking on. …. Some insects of some kind.
And then the boarder !!!!!
Leaving Lao was no problem …. But China … Trucks all over the place. And officials who sent us different directions at least 3 times. We finally found our China guide …. Gerry ( as in Tom and Gerry – his English name for us. ). Then a big wait and a shift of the cars to different entry again and more waiting etc. Finally through and a very nice lunch. Before heading off near by town of Mengla to get the cars past an inspection on Saturday which meant waiting again for various people to come and do their part of the process. Nice guys and not in uniform on a Saturday and really interested in the cars and our plans. The inspection was limited to checking paper work and Barry having to do a little braking test. Not the best thing for Mollie to be tested for. But we pasted. And then a little lecture translated by Gerry on good behaviour on the roads and the inspectors wished us well and to get fuel and the cars cleaned for free at petrol station using a high pressure water system. We recon some of the red dirt that came out of Mollie was defiantly Aussie dirt.
Then a drive we were not expecting. I am writing this while we a driving on highway running north. A fare bit of traffic, tunnels and big long bridges through hilly country with lots of production. Right now the hills are covered rubber plantations. The highway construction is really quite amazing. Lots of tunnels and long bridges over steep valleys.
We drive for about 2 or so hours and get to the city of Jinghong. The contrast with Lao is astonishing. And already we are appreciating having a guide. Pocket Earth which has helped us through Cambodia and Lao, now seems to be only working for main roads and quick test of our Garmin GPS and it’s similar. After trying to find a ATP we are cashed up and book our hotel and good dinner at simple local restaurant.