If you pull out at night off the bus in Jinghong, schwallt the contrary hot and humid air. Welcome to the tropical region of Xishuangbanna, in south-western tip of China! The tropical temperatures are noted the city, not only in terms of temperature. She looks more colorful than other cities in China. Han Chinese, From- and other minorities live together. The building facades have a colored paint, in the streets palm trees and other flowering trees have been planted. Obststände, mobile food stalls and barbecue stalls line the sidewalks. The smell of grilled chicken is in the air, Dressing for papaya salad is mashed and served noodle soup. Our anticipation of Laos and Thailand grows. Between all the “tropical dream” then stand here and there, faceless, monotonous high-rise complexes, the flashing colorful night. We are simply still in China.
Lush green rice fields as far as the eye can see. We ride in the hilly landscape of Yuanyang, 80 km southwest of Jianshui. Over the centuries, the Hani minority terraced rice fields created. It is not only about a valley, but an area of ca. 12.500 ha with a distinctive topography. At the top of the mountain slopes, the villages have settled, while the rice terraces to extend deep into the valleys. A direct bus from Jianshui from there is not, so we or several times the bus. Must change Minivan. Our accommodation, das „Timeless Hostel Yuanyangʱ??, located in the village Pugaolao and offers a wonderful wide view down to the rice fields. From the rooftop terrace, we can see, go up as fog and clouds in the snail's pace of the Valley. Night dive the large moon behind the mountain ridge on. Even a few stars are visible. There seems to be no better place to relax..
After the big city Kunming Jianshui is at first glance a boon. After brief 200 km southward and three and a half hour drive, we will be met at the bus station small town of Songtheaw similar vehicles. The driver sitting relaxed on her car in the afternoon sun and provide us with their services. As so often we go with a “bu schischié” (no thanks) past them, to give us space and air. we are lucky, on the other side of the road just keeps a city bus, the direction Altstadt drives. As simple as it may sometimes go. We pass old, partly rundown small wooden houses, whose color is faded on the facade has long. The car-free old town with its narrow lanes Jianshui looks comfortable at first glance and is not quite as highly polished as Lijiang and Shangri-La. We see tourists barely. But appearances are deceptive, because it is the middle of the week.
So far we have traveled five weeks through China, seen and have discovered much, by bus, Overcome several thousand meters of altitude train or on foot. The industrial city of Kunming is, after all, “just” yet on the 2000m high Yunnan level, so year-round mild temperatures prevail. It is very pleasant, not too hot, not too cold. Also, the long-term travelers need a break from time to time. We are mainly from the long bus rides “reisemüde” become and are longing for a relaxing place to stay. Although sounds a town of about seven million inhabitants less than ideal for, but the many parks in the city, we are optimistic. Can finally be with a book on the grass and the sun on the belly seem…
Who would have thought it? The Middle Kingdom is vast and varied – as well as the food. We come in southwest China to the widespread Sichuan cuisine: sharp, intense and varied should they be. Dried Chilies, Chinese flowers pepper (also known as Sichuan pepper) and black pepper are essential components in every dish and are finely tuned. A special feature of the Sichuan pepper is its numbing effect – a strange sensation in the mouth. Anyone who has eaten him, loves him or sorted immediately peppercorns neatly with the chopsticks individually from the food.
Every beginning is notoriously difficult. Order takeaway is mainly due to our narrow knowledge of Chinese language is a recurring adventure. While we have so far purchased in other countries usually without problems in English courts, we sit in the first two weeks of our trip to China often baffled by the Chinese characters in the menu card. In the morning, at midday, evening eating only rice? there is another way, only courage.
We have waited in vain for a bus in China a few times, a bus was full or a minibus did not drive off, because too few passengers mitwollten. For three hours were often three hours waiting time, quite apart from the stress of uncertainty. Today, however, everything works like clockwork. At a fair price, we are driven by our minivan Guesthouses Lijiang, together with two other guests, and there even before the door of our pre-booked hostels, dem October Inn, sold. The afternoon runs relaxed. We eat sweet and sour pork in a small restaurant with Bitter Gourd and carbon, explore the area and make the usual errands at the grocery store. A visit to the famous Old Town we veschieben to the next day, the rest of the city is clean and tidy.
In the evening our innkeeper for its eight guests cook as many dishes. Pork with peppers and courgettes, cooked tomatoes and zucchini, thick glass noodles with carrots and vinegar, intensely flavored eggplant, Tofu with peppers, cooked mushrooms, Cucumber salad with sugar and a huge bowl of rice. Although there is no round table with rotating plate, but that Prizip remains the same: Anyone can try everything, everything tastes delicious and all are pappsatt. A colorful round sitting here together: A couple from Australia on a nine-month trip around the world planning a visit to Europe. A woman from Hong Kong was already in Germany and France, However, most of them has impressed Sweden. Also to Sweden would like to travel a young Chinese woman, to make an internship in a hostel. A young man from Java is afraid of malaria in China. A French woman has learned a year abroad in Beijing Chinese behind him and a few words, a second French woman smells of garlic, as it has our support before cooking stir the snipping and actively Wok. All guests come either from the Tiger Leaping Gorge, or want the next day there. We spendieren our not torn tickets and a map, before we fall into bed tired.
The second attempt - this time we are already at eight clock on the village street of Baishuitai and wait for the bus to Tiger Leaping Gorge. And this time, we do not wait for nothing. Shortly after half past eight comes the awaited bus, there is plenty of availability and we take facilitates Place. Around this time, the early morning fog has not yet set. Soon we remember, that there actually are cloud, who set down the mountainside. As soon as we drive out of a cloud, gleams the sun timidly through another higher cloud layer.
After nearly two hours we reach the muddy-brown Yangtze River, of here quietly by a wide, parched valley flows. Browns alternate. We go upriver and the landscape changes dramatically. Between two over six thousand meters high mountain ranges, the deepest gorge in the world opens, which formed the Yangtze Tiger Leaping Gorge. It is so narrow, that the road must meander two hundred meters above the river along the slope. The rock wall on the opposite side of the river extends over four thousand meters almost vertically into the air, so Kathi is giddy at the sight of. We follow the river and the gorge. Only in a few places there is space for steep, lush terraced fields and some houses. One of these places is Walnut Garden. Here you will find the ticket office for the canyon, as well as some Guesthouses. We get off the bus, the continues to Lijiang, Buy tickets and find quickly an accommodation, the cozy Tibet Guest House, where we first strengthen ourselves with a delicious noodle soup.
Dark clouds chasing across the sky, it is cold and starting to rain. No Problem, We sit on the bus from Shangri-La to Baishuitai, in the bag with our passports extended China visa. We now have more than a month time, To explore Yunnan, so shall we. We drive on a narrow road over mountain passes and through river valleys towards the south. For three hours, it goes around a curve after another, up and down. Fortunately, let the bus window. We see green terraced fields, Mixed forests, but also dried-brown mountain slopes.
In Baishuitai there should be spectacular limestone terraces, which have formed over the centuries from the calcareous waters of mountain streams. For the Naxi People, Members of a minority with its own religion and Scripture, is the place an important center. To Naxi New Year many people come together here, to the nature gods to pay respect. In the early evening we reach our goal and be on the bus by three Naxi women received, each extolling us their accommodation. We take a decent Guesthouse is opposite the bus stop, of which we have previously read, and pay the equivalent of about 7 Euro per night, Our new Sparfuchs record in China. The only damper, that the WiFi in the room does not work.
With our dusty backpacks we stand at the bus station in Shangri-La. We have already picked us a Guest House, das 'Kevin's Trekker Inn', However, pre-booked a room. By bus we drive to the old town, from where we have to walk up a hill. Unfortunately, the guest house is fully booked and so we stay in a cheap hotel next door. Here, however, neither work nor tap water Internet, so we are again the next morning with Kevin at the door. Lucky. One of the most beautiful room with a terrace and panoramic view of the city is just free. Because we want to stay here a few days, we get a generous discount.
Not quite relaxed we wake up at six clock in the morning in Xiangcheng. From the window we can look at the bus station, where just a bus to Shangri-La (Yunnan), our next destination, making ready to sail. Six clock departure was us (especially Sven) too early and loudly Lonely Planet to nine clock a second bus drive through here, we aim to take. One hundred per cent sure but we are not us, whether this information is actually true. We eat breakfast cereal with Nescafé and Kathi pressed air from the vacuum bags, to stow everything in their tight in size backpack.
Since we do not know exactly, when our bus arrives, we sit shortly after eight on the street outside the bus station and wait. The lady from the kiosk next door gives us small plastic stool, we return the favor by purchasing a cola and a 'Flavoured Drink', a delicious Chinese lemonade, as the not so sweet ginger ale tastes. Half past eight the ticket so far closed to open Office and we go to the counter, to us to ask for our bus. The lady translated using their smartphone app, that today would go no more bus to Shangri-La, until tomorrow at six clock. Such a crap, but we do not trust this woman and are still waiting.