Simao is a town in the south of Yunnan Province, about 4 hour's drive from JiangCheng where I lived for a year in 2006-2007. It's amidst fields of "Pu'Er tea" [see photo - tea plantations and Simao are top right], which is why the tourist-minded Government tried to rename Simao as Pu'er some years ago (and then had to rename the real Pu'er as Ning'er) ...it hasn't really caught on!
Getting out into the countryside is a real breather from city life. The journey down to Simao goes through some gorgeous scenery with cloud-shrouded mountains, swathes of forests and roads that cling precariously to the sides of sheer drops. It's a cliché, but true, that the pace of life there is slower and the locals are much friendlier. The wildlife is more evident too. This enormous spider, fully 30cm across, wasn't given a second glance by the nonchalant students on the LEAF's campus. For Ava and I, it was certainly worthy of a photograph.
We met up with the LEAF family for a yummy, locally sourced, cooked breakfast before the wildlife interupted us again, with an enormous swarm of bees passing the window [see photo] and settling on nearby roofs and phone lines. Quite a sight.
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