21st April – Puer to Yuanyang

Today we have a 320 km drive from Puer to Yuanyang which will be a long days drive as the final 120 km are on provincial roads which are one lane each way and windy as the Yunnan province is very mountainous.



Our guide Green, sits in the passenger seat of the lead car as Tony doesn’t have a passenger with him for China while the passenger of the lead car sits in with Tony for the day. Shiraz is the lead car for today and Kay drives the first leg of the trip to give Michael a rest after working on DashB last night and getting up early for the test drive at 5:30am. The first part of the drive was on a high
way which wound through the mountains and many tunnels.  After a driver change and fuel stop we exit the highway to the provincial road which wound it’s way through the mountains passing a wind farm and running along the red river, which was actually really red! In the service station there is a motor bike parked next to us with a very appropriate number plate.

We start to climb and pass through many banana plantations, where people are packing them into boxes and loading trucks that then deliver them all over China.

Our destination tonight is in the beautiful area of the Hani Terraced Fields Cultural Landscape, which is where all the terraced padi fields are.  The rice hasn’t been planted out yet so the padi fields are full of water which reflects the sun creating a shimmering landscape.  There are patches of green rice which is the nursery where the rice is being established so it can be planted into the other padi fields. There is also corn grown on terraces which are tilled by hand by the local Hani people.

We go & check into our lovely guest house for the night before heading off to see the sunset over the padi fields, but we can’t drive out of the carpark as the water buffalo are returning home after their day’s work.

The drive to the viewing platform for the sunset is over a brick paved road that goes for kilometres and winds through the mountains as we climb to 2050 metres above sea level.  There are small villages dotted on the mountain sides that remind us of Italy.

When we arrive at the viewing platform the Hani women are there to greet us in their gorgeous coloured clothes & hats.

We then descend down 406 steps to the platform to watch the sun set, which then of course we have to climb back up to get to the car, but it was worth it the sunsetting behind the cloud was lovely.

On the way back to the village we are staying in we see an enormous pine tree, which isn’t a real pine tree, but a communications tower that has been made to look like a tree.  The Chinese even have fake trees but it looks a lot better than a communication tower in this lovely area.

We go to a local restaurant for dinner and have locally grown vegetables and some lovely pork dishes as well as some local fresh water shrimp & deep fried bugs!  The bugs didn’t have much taste, but at least we did try them!  The shrimp were only tiny but very tasty.

There was a table of locals having dinner as well and consuming a lot of beer and getting very vocal.  Then they all stood up, and started singing while one of the ladies danced, it was great.  We recorded a video of their performance. (coming soon on youtube)

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