Peter M-Switzerland, Terry-USA, and Peter H-Switzerland, who Larry has named TP2, ride together faithfully.
Each year, 250,000 swallows come here from Malaysia to nest in a huge complex of caverns that happen to be on our route. In the USA, Park Ranger guides would be dressed in olive drab uniforms. Here, lovely young ladies dressed in beautiful satin outfits tromped through the damp caves guiding us to see the nesting birds. Stone formations, on which young men free climb, have been created through centuries of dripping, mineral laden, water.
Lions heads decorate many places in China, including the pedestrian walkway fences at the Swallow Cave.
The amount of produce being produced along the roads today was amazing. Wagons of watermelons were being towed to central collection areas.
Today I thought a lot about my late Uncle Benny. A life long farmer from St. Peter, Minnesota, Benny never knew a stranger. When, in 1982, I had the good fortune to travel with Benny and his wife, my Aunt Dolores, to Alaska, he delighted in seeing crops and vegetables growing and talking with people. If he were alive today, and visiting China, I believe he would run into some distant relative and, learn about how the Chinese grow their bounty of vegetables.
Although many restaurants provide new, individually wrapped packs of chopsticks for customers, many do not. At our lunch stop, a unit, looking like an autoclave, supposedly sterilizes used wooden chopsticks prior to the next use. We can hope, and pray.
Kunming, Capital of Yunnan Province, is a city of 6 MM people. We missed a turn and conveniently sat out a thunderstorm by entertaining the locals at a canopied gas station. Kunming is the biggest Chinese city into which we’re driving, so far, on this trip. Is China ever changing! A large sign above the highway referenced the “Kunming Country Golf Course.”
When Larry and I rode from Beijing to Xi’an in 2006, we remember the traffic being chaos with trucks passing slower trucks, passing 3 wheel trucks, passing ox carts,…. Now, the growing middle class is clogging the roads with Buicks, Cadillacs, Toyotas, Hyundais, and even one Bentley. These are all new vehicles, being added at a rate of 500 per day in the larger cities. Most of these drivers have no clue how to handle the power they now command and they’re doing this while talking on their cell phones. No wonder the highway death rate in China is six times as great as that in Europe. Larry and I agree, that with the possible exception of the more sparsely populated areas of the west, such as Tibet, this will be our last motorcycle trip to this danger zone called China.
10-Jun Jianshui to Kunming China 192 miles
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