Day 31: Jinghong – Simao (115km) – Distance travelled so far 1,662km “Swamps and Mosquito Concerns”
Feeling pretty fit and hunky, we were chomping at the bit this morning and decided to put in a nice bit of effort and targetted a place a good 140km or away from Jinghong. We get up early and depart for 7am heading along taking the old national road…the G213!!!
We are slightly concerned about completing a huge journey today, especially after having been sick for the last two days, so approx 40km in, we decide to take 15-20 minute rests every 20km or so.
I dont know what it is about chinese people, but they seem to reacted in different ways to our Thai and Laos roadsiders. When they see us sweating during our cycles, most of them laugh and give thumbs up. Some others stare in disbelief whilst others just do not pay any attention whatsoever.
Chinese road signage (especially to minor towns) is very hit and miss. During todays cycle we had to second guess ourselves, stopping to ask locals for directions on occasssions. Its pretty frustrating, having to stop the bikes all the time, but hey….Its better than going 20km out of our way!!!!!!…..We still cycle close to the Mekong River passing villages and homes of ethnic minorities. One of which is the “Dai people” who speak a language close to Lao and Northern Thai dialects and who are Hinayana Buddhist. (some trivia for you all……just in case it ever comes up in a tie break question down at the local!!!!)
Mike trying to figure out the way
We stop for lunch at a place named Sanchahe Park. It has a tropical feel to it and serves a good selection of fried fish and vege and of course rice. We devour some sweet and sour pork/noodles and rice washed down with some Chinese Green Tea. In Laos, coffee was our deal, but know we are firmly established tea drinkers…Ahghhh….Just like home…..Go on!!!! Go on!!!!! Go on!!!!!
We complete another 50 odd kilometers after this, using a lovely 15 km gentle downhill slope at one stage to our absolute advantage and reaching speeds of 40+ kilometers per hour…Yeahhh!!!!!
We have heard that there had been a malaria epidemic in Simao until a few years ago because of all the malarial swamps which surround it. They are now supposedly fairly safe, due to extensive government campaigns against mosquitoes. We are fairly happy beacuse, we lost our insect repellent somewhere in Laos (still a mystery that one!!!). We do not intend camping tonight, so we keep things at a consistant pace until we reach 100km seeing a sign for Simao some 30 km away…Yeahhhhh…..It was approx 3pm at this stage, so covering this distance in 2 hours or so would be a sweet deal….
After a bit of confusion finding the road to the town itself (lack of signs and bloody roadworks), we eventually got ourselves into cheap hostel searching modes. The eventual winner being a clean hotel bordering on a truckstop on the western edge of town. It would be fine for tonight…Roll on some dinner, a hot shower and some shut eye!!!!
The Lads xxx