24 November 2011
This is the closest we've had yet to an easy day's riding. The departure from Pu'er is straightforward. We stop for baozi and doujiang, our now established breakfast standard, then get onto the road out of town. It's a little broken and shabby at first but soon settles down to be a very useable country road.
The first chunk of the route is downhill. We get a decent mileage on the clock early and we feel a boost in morale. We're still up over 1000m in altitude, and the air is cool, despite us being in the tropics. Here and there, small fires by the roadside are burning leaves and plant debris. The bright sun filters through the trees, making shafts of light in the smoke.
Despite Pu'er being 'tea city', we pass through several coffee plantations. There's a pungent sour smell in the air. This turns out to be the rotting exteriors of the coffee beans, which are returned to the fields as fertiliser. The pale yellow unroasted beans themselves lie out in the sun to dry.
The second chunk of the day is flatter. We get into a pretty strong cruise, which gets really fun when we get on the back of a tuktuk that's carrying a door widthwise - a great windshield that makes cruising at around 30km/h a cinch.
Alas, the last part of the day is uphill, at first gradual, and then steeper as we approach our destination. We were both feeling a bit broken. We end up in Dadugang higher than we'd started the day in Pu'er. Hopefully this means an easy run in to Jinghong tomorrow.
We eat a pile of snacks on the roof of our hotel, because the room has no windows, despite the great view over the tea plantation down in the valley. After a shower and a rest, we demolish a pile of chaocai and a couple of beers for dinner, and then head to one of the many outdoor pool tables for a couple of frames.
79km, 18.1km/h, 4hr20min, c.e.g. 1294m, 787km