My first impressions of China were not what I thought they would be. I had crossed into China at Mengla on the Laotion boarder, a small local trading check post carrying local goods, Chinese plastics and electronics and food stuffs. Certainly the boarder guards at Mengla were stern-looking and didn't appear friendly, but this was not a cultural aberration - boarder guards are universally lacking in humour.
The bus from the boarder to Jinghong bounced along for the remainder of the afternoon. I was just developing the first signs of giardia and had egg burps and stomach cramps. My intestinal issues hardly detracted from the fantastic villages we passed through. Chinese villages, unlike most Chinese cities have real character and are well worth visiting.
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