Hello from an internet bar in JingHong, the main town of the Xishuangbanna region in southeast China. Xishuangbanna borders Thailand, and about 1/2 the population here from the Dai ethnic minority group which have their own distinctive traditions and practice a different type of Buddhism than most Han Chinese. I flew out here after class on Friday from Kunming and am flying back tomorrow. The atmosphere here is unlike anything I have ever seen before in Yunnan, more southeast Asian than anything else. Alissa and I got on a bus yesterday from Jinghong to Ganlanba, a village about 1 hour up into the mountains inhabited mostly by the Dai people. We rented bikes this morning, got on a ferry across the Mekong River (Banna is that close to Thailand and Laos) and biked for 5 or 6 hours through the villages on the other side. We even got invited to have some watermelons by some Dai people who happened to be sitting in a watermelon field cooking lunch under a makeshift canopy. After having some river eel, mysterious wild greens, rice, and a shot each of bai jiu which the oldest man in the group insisted we have with him, we got back to Ganlanba and on the bus to Jinghong again.
In conclusion, I am bone-tired, but got to watch the sun set over the Mekong River today. Amazing. More soon when my brain is functioning properly, but much love all the same.