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Previews from the book "Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels."

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135 full-color pages of photos, stories, anecdotes, illustrations, journal pages maps and more!In addition to the four major sections on Yunnan, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand I have included some back story on both my first (and unsuccessful) attempt to motorcycle through China as well as how the planning for the trip came together.I have chosen the very best of the more than 4,000 photos from the trip as well as the most humorous, moving and fascinating of the several hundred anecdotes for Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

"Ecape from Kunming" and "Into the Jungle."

Near YuanJiang, Yunnan Province, China

I woke up early yesterday morning, hoping to avoid the police. Then, not 5 blocks from the hostel, a street cop flagged me down. "Damn.. game over.." I thought to myself. I tried my usual hit-them-with-fast-English-to-scare-them routine, but he spoke a little English. Here was the conversation.

OFFICER: "Your is registration bike."
ME: Damn. He's good..
"Here you go officer."
OFFICER: "This is expire. You will get a new one."
ME: "Ok."
OFFICER: "Have a nice day."

And that was it. The dreaded run-in with the law was over in about 30 seconds and I was back on my way. Phew.

On the way out I was caught in the middle of a caravan of PLA soldiers in big green military trucks. They got such a laugh out of seeing me riding between them.

The road was in good condition most of the way - sealed asphalt with a smooth surface. However, the route consists of a hairpin turn about every 100 feet and thusly can only be traveled at about 20 miles and hour. The going is slow. I pushed it too far again last night and was on the road past sundown. The going got really slow then.

I saw more stars than I have ever seen in my life. 1000s.

Finally, a group of "police" manning a post by the side of the road (more like four 20-somethings in T-shirts and shorts smoking and playing cards) asked me to sit with them and smoke a cigarette. They directed me to a 'hotel' just 5 km down the road. I found said hotel to be more like a 'garage' for humans. Concrete, filthy - like a state-park cabin. Never been so glad to have a bed.

Only made it about 50km today to the town of __Jiang. I found a nice hotel here, and decided it was time to take a half-day and clean up. Tomorrow I will press on for the Xishuanbanna region.

Already the terrain is transformed - more SE asia than China - palms, exotic peoples, sod houses. So much diversity in one province.

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