Whoever has heard of a border city in Xishuangbanna called Jing Hong? Just short of half a million inhabitants, it’s neither here nor there by Chinese standard. We arrived in the early evening. After dinner, we took a brief walking tour downtown to absorb its ambiance. As in nearly every Chinese town and city, a big group was doing dance exercise in the public square. Nearby, the riverside disco was warming up their oversized loudspeakers to a different tune. Next to it was a vibrant night market selling all things edible or wearable under heaven.
After loitering at the market for half and hour, we headed for our resort hotel. The driver’s navigator predicted the drive to take only five to ten minutes. Ten minutes from here? I couldn’t help being skeptical. I prepared for mental shutdown, getting ready for an early night with my earplugs firmly inserted. I suspected the “resort” to be one of those furnished with an all-night disco and twenty-four-hour massage service.
聽過西雙版納景洪市的人應該不太多吧。一個四十多萬人口的邊疆城市，不大不小，也不怎麼中型。到達景洪時，已近黃昏。在市中心晚飯後，到熱鬧的夜 市逛了一圈。湄公河畔的幽靜，似乎已被剛流行的迪斯科音樂所淹沒。逗留了大概一個小時，司機才用導航尋找「悠然台」去。據說這度假村離開市中心只有五到十 分鐘車程。我心想，一個跟景洪夜市相距十分鐘的「度假村」，能有多棒呢？莫非又是門庭如市，二十四小時 MTV 和按摩服務的所謂「現代化」休閒勝地？我暗自把期望降到最低，拿出耳塞，準備早睡早起身體好。過了幾分鐘，巴士停在半山一個小區中央。導航系統的機械聲音宣佈我們已經到達目的地。「就這裡？」 我忍不住問了句。沒有人回答我。可能大家的心裡當時也盤旋著同樣的問題。
A few minute later, we arrived at an unimpressive neighbourhood. “Here?” I asked. Nobody answered. I guess everyone had the same question in mind. A garden gate next to a local corner store had its name in Chinese and English — Yourantai. When the owner and his manager welcomed us inside, there was a synchronised wow! Unfortunately, I’m going to ruin this element of surprise for you with this post, if you ever visit Yourantai.