|Thr map details routes of the 'Ancient Tea Horse Road' (茶马古道).|
With this trip, it completes my visits to most places in Yunnan province. I've spent a lot of time in the tea-producing regions of the south- in Xishuangbanna, Pu'er, Lincang and Wenshan, as well as Baoshan, Honghe and Dehong. Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La remain my favorite areas and it's lovely I get to see it thoroughly thrice. Yup. It's northwestern Yunnan. Something about an area's northwest that I swivel towards. Heeeee.
To me, it's easy traveling around Yunnan. It's quite different from the China usually portrayed in social media. It doesn't seem as rude or devious. We've been treated really well, and not just by hosts who know us. The region's charming and kinda clean. Well, try keeping streets and corners of towns this vast clean the way we know it. Shangri-La/Zhongdian, as a county-level city in Yunnan is twice the size of Singapore. Lijiang as a prefecture-level city is four times the size of Singapore. Of course October 1949 changed Yunnan and all of China so much. Two generations have grown up since then, and they have reset the path to become the China we know today.
Living in a city like Singapore keeps me restless, and a tad stiffled. I need nature, space and the green constantly to re-ignite that spark and zest for life. Grateful for the privilege to do that regularly. I've thoroughly enjoyed this trip. All that space and time for reflection. It truly fed my soul.
Thankful for traveling companions who're long-time friends, people who could dance in the rain, tahan both heat and cold in different conditions, get down on the knees, roll in the mud, and laugh about it. These are people I love and am proud to call friends. Am blessed that they don't mind my company too.
Goodbye Yunnan. I hope it won't take too long before we meet again.