Before the light had settled on the streets of Jinghong, we were sitting up at a roadside café eating a breakfast of dumplings and ‘You Tiao’ fried breadsticks in soy milk (kind of like churros, but without the chocolate).

We set off to the Wild Elephant Valley, with Yingchu retelling the story of a disgruntled native elephant who’d smashed in the bonnet of a parked car that happened to be in its way. COOL. The Elephants we saw in the park didn’t seem very wild (I don’t think wild elephants hold each others tails in formation and sit on two legs) and after we’d antagonised the talking birds and seen all the other creepy crawlies, we drove off down the road for a picnic lunch (ok, cup noodles). As we pulled over, down the embankment, across the river, no more that 60 metres away, a REAL wild elephant was munching his way through a small forest, and so judging that our bonnet was a safe distance, we all sat down and had lunch together.

Back on the expressway, i nearly had a coronary as we were ushered off the road into a service station for a full-on military checkpoint. Yingchu leapt out of the back of the car whilst the questions were fired at Joe and I (in chinese). A soldier got in the back of the car and snooped around whilst all our documents were checked. No one smiled. We said nothing, and let Yingchu do the talking. We are paying enough to not have to deal with this after all. Finally, we were allowed to pass. A young female soldier stood to one side, saluted, and in practised English yelled ‘Have A Nice Day!’ Argghhh!

Our final destination on day two was the lush tea plantation rich Pu’er. Joe pulled up and Yingchu and I bounded off to make accommodation enquiries. When we came back Joe was no where to be seen, and Bob was alone and unlocked in the busy street. Joe poked his head out of a shop where he’d been sat drinking tea with a young chinese guy, trying to explain in hand gestures the route of our trip. After we’d sat in this guys shop drinking what felt like all the tea in China, he decided to come with us to play tennis, and then he took us to the top of Tea Hill, a winding set of steps that climbs above the tea plantations of Pu’er, offering a 360 view of the surrounding town and plains to watch the sunset.