29 march / 24 april 05
Wow! We did not know what to expect but our arrival into China (in the Yunnan Province, Southern China) takes our breath away: China is at work! As Mike exclaims as soon as we get there: "when 10 Laos are asleep under a tree, the Chinese have an impact on their environment!"
As we slowly ride up a dirt road, in the middle of the mountains of northern Laos, surrounded by nothing but native forest and Chinese road workers, the crossing of the border line is a visual shock: large concrete road, big, multi-coloured hotels and buildings, in particular lemon yellow and lolly pink (we feel like we've arrived in a Walt Disney cartoon), men and women going in all directions, doing what they have to do... Some build, some cook, others work in the paddocks, transport, play pool, smoke while filling up their truck with fuel, open the shops... Incredible, it is like we have arrived in the middle of an ant mount! And no kids around?! They are also at work: at school!
So we go from the quiet mountains of Northern Laos, scattered with a few villages here and there, to the cultivated, worked, transformed by men mountains of Southern China. China (or at least Yunnan) seems to have clear objectives in mind and nothing will move it from working towards them. Let's get to work!