19.08.2012 22 °C
Sunday, August 19,
It rained all night, with the occasional thunderstorm and it was still raining in the morning (after all this is the monsoon season in a tropical area), so we decided to forgo any attractions in Xishuangbanna and start heading back home. We headed East towards Nanning to visit Nicole's father, drove for approximately 9 hours and stopped in Kaiyuan.
We saw a lot of coconut and palm trees as well as the regular tropical fruits in Xishuangbanna. Nicole bought some fruit during one of our rest stops and we ate the best mangoes that I have ever tasted. The grapes and pomegranates were also very tasty.
As we got closer to Kaiyuan, the agriculture changed from tropical plants to fields of immacuately groomed northern vegetables.
When we arrived in Kaiyuan we found a nice hotel, checked in and went out for supper. On our way, we went by a local market area and we started talking ( actually Jeremy and Nicole did all the talking ) to some locals that were selling hookah pipes for smoking tobacco. It wasn't long before there was a crowd of about 20 people around us. One women even tried to get her young child to shake my hand but he was too shy...I don't blame him. At first they were just staring at us but it didn't take them long to start talking to us. They were very happy when Jeremy told them that we were from Canada. In general, the Chinese hold Canada in high esteem and a lot of this is due to the work that Dr. Norman Bethune performed in China, saving thousands of lives. There was also another reference made about me looking like him.
We eventually found a restaurant and heads turned to look at us as we entered. Supper consisted of a pot of very (and I mean very ) spicy duck with vegetables. When we were almost finished a couple of men came over to our table to drink a toast with us, which we did.
As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, the people in the very southern part of China are more diverse than in the other parts of China, mainly due to the influence of the various neighbouring countries. You can see it in their appearance, mannerisms, speech...etc. Regardless of where we have gone, the people have been very friendly and have treated us with respect. I only wish that I could speak the language so that I could converse with them directly. They each have their own unique stories and outlook on life, which I find fascinating.
Tomorrow we will continue on to Nanning.