I have a hell of a time keeping up with Jamil and Andrew on their GSA1200’s. Not only do they have a windshield, but their bikes are made for this highway.
They’re good friends. A classic bromance.
We arrive, crash, and the next day head off to the Shilin Stone Forest like the tourists we are. It’s odd, but solo I never feel like a tourist. Here, in this group, I do, and don’t like the feeling much.
We’ll be taking some photos over the next few weeks of Chinese ‘cool’. I’m interested in what their spin is. There’s a lot of visible wealth around the cities, the Porshe Cayenne being the suv of choice, in black
Where were we? Oh yes.
(Jamil, Andrew and myself have ‘cliqued’ off from the others. This is a terrible thing to do, but it’s happened. The fact of the matter is, we know what we’re doing, the official guide and back-up guide don’t, and after 5 days of screw-ups we’re close to mutiny. We actually talk about mutiny, but the official Chinese permissions, at the most, require we exit the border and sign out as a group, at the almost-most that we stay together all the time. Solo is so much easier)
Here’s this spider again. It’s enormous, maybe 3 inches body length, with a web that we’ve seen span from tree to tree, 20 feet or more. We saw it way back in Timor-Leste, and before that, more than a year earlier a very similar one across the Pacific in Panama with Eddie. For some reason it’s really nice when these links with prior experiences happen
Chinese dance. We see this often. Very slow and restrained with a central movement theme, but around that the movement can be free-form and individual but never at a different pace, everyone’s very slow timing is locked-in and it’s somehow satisfying to watch
Fishing cormorants. The wiki entry has a picture from this very lake, here
Shot of Jamil, Anita, Andrew at our hotel. If you’re a riding ace like these two you can carry whatever vast top box you like and be beyond style criticism. Andrew had all kinds of amazing bike stuff in his, Jamil had all kinds of amazing food stuff in his. They were like Santa at times
However money is being made now, this is the classic style of newer homes. Walls, white-panelled, open-fronted to the courtyard, decorative edging, Chinese characters and often dark blue landscape scenes painted into the empty spaces. For this whole central part of Yunnan, this style is consistent
Into Shaxi. This is one of the most important and protected towns in China. To quote wiki, it’s the most intact caravan town on the ancient tea route from Yunnan into Burma and Tibet. Trade started here in the 7th century
My room in the old, wonderful hotel. This is the nicest room I’ve stayed in since, well a looong time. Here for 2 nights, great, felt like going to bed with iBooks and getting up in 48 hours, such comfyness
Cars can’t get into the old town, so the hotel has this buggy to pick up luggage for tourists. The tires were a bit flat. Rather than help, we watched the 3 girls struggle a bit. They looked at us like we were lazy males. We laughed. It seemed funny at the time, 2 moto pros being useless, but not so funny now… oh well, you had to be there
Getting into the country was great. Boo! to organized rides. Other than with Helge. And then, you ride your own ride and just meet at the day’s destination. Anyway, it was beautiful. Andrew with Anita, Jamil, and me. The troublemakers
Then we got blocked by a huge number of small parked trucks. It didn’t make any sense, we couldn’t figure out why. So after checking there were no alternates on the GPS, we reversed.