Laura's World Tour
22nd Jul 2012 - 24th Jul 2012
Tengchong - Let it rain (some more)
Let me start by saying that I successfully put Elni on a bus! For those of you that know her, you will appreciate this. It was an easy bus I thought (but I'm an expert at this point in my travels).
The main problem about Tengchong unfortunately, was not that the 20 volcanoes around in the mountains, the hot springs and temples were boring or not worth visiting, it was that the unrelenting rain prevented us from getting to them or experiencing them. For the days that we were there, all it did was rain and our activities were limited to indoors. In Tengchong, there isn't anything to do indoors. So, we slept, watched movies, read.
On one evening when the rain subsided to a gentle drizzle we headed to the commercial walking street to catch some dinner. It turned into quite an evening after we had enjoyed a bottle of red between us, we were invited over to join 4 Chinese guys to carry on drinking and begin smoking.
Aside: it is rude to decline anything offered to you including drink and smokes within the Chinese culture - Elni was even smoking....
Only one of the guys remotely spoke english (very remotely) and between Elni's broken mandarin and his english we polished close on another bottle and too many smokes to want to admit. It was a fun evening, and very unexpected and got us into bed at around 2am (I think).
Exhausted the next day we awoke to, wait for it... More rain. Needless to say that this was unfortunately the trend for the time we shared in this hikers paradise while Elni desperately tried to get out of Tengchong and back to South Africa - she failed on all counts no matter how creative she tried to be (rain is surprisingly a problem) and we were getting creative!
On our final day in Tengchong, I woke up and there was peaceful silence which was unfamiliar to me... It had stopped raining! I jumped out of bed and took a taxi to the temple of the hill on the outskirts of time. It was very quiet and the fresh smell of the earth was still present after the past couple days of rain, the views were spectacular and I shared this experience with other relieved individuals who took the opportunity to get back to their exercise regime in the outdoors.
There were two women who were doing a choreographed dance, each with what appeared to be a tennis racket and ball on the strings, the aim being to swing the tennis racket around without the ball falling to the ground. Something I had never seen before - not sure...
The temple itself was being renovated but still it was evident that it was well used. This made the air seem denser in the single hall unlike other temples that have since become mere tourist attractions. And it is set on a hill slash mountain, nestled in a forrest overlooking the town and the mountains that extend into the distance. Very special.
Having taken the taxi through the forrest to the temple, I was unsure of how to get back down to town, so I followed a man who quite evidently knew where he was going which, if we are being honest, is probably the same direction as where I was going. Sound logic! Anyways, he led me down a winding path of slopes and stairs through the forrest which quite suddenly opened onto a concrete road and no more trees (interesting how quickly it all stopped). On the embankment the became the road, there were a series of delapidated and untended to gravestones that where perched perfectly to appreciate the view and morning sun.
I made it back to the hostel in time for check-out and in time to miss the rain which was jealous of the sun so took control once more. And that evening was Elnis first experience on a sleep bus, 12 hours to Kunming to finally catch her flight.
Tengchong, with all its possibilities, turned out to be rained out and a disappointment thus. But, if nothing else, El and I had quality time to thrash about some life ideas. Always spending time with my friend!
|24th Jul 2012 Tengchong|
|Temple in the forest under maintenance|
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