Thursday, July 07, 2011

First Impressions

From the moment I crossed the border, one thing was clear, in China things are bigger and better. While the Laos border post is essentially a shed with a few people in it the Chinese border post is an architect designed marvel with lots of marble, immaculately dressed officers, and an electronic score board to rate their efficiency.
The trip to Jinghong my first stop in this country was on amazingly good highways with several large tunnels and huge viaducts to cross mountains and valleys. When we reached Jinghong, a sleepy country town according to the guide book, we were greeted by seemingly endless brand new apartment blocks and I counted over forty tower cranes on the way in. The journey ended at a bus station large enough to have it's own Hotel!
The warning that few people speak English is quite true but it hasn't proved much of an obstacle so far. I got a hotel in Jinghong by miming and pointing and I am trying to learn a few basic sentences in Mandarin. Food is normally on display so that's easy as well. It's cheap too.

And to kick the photos off, here is chairman Mao

The bus station in Jinghong

The main square in Kunming

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