Chasing Mirages

Tag: sipsongpanna

Back in Sipsongpanna

by on Jun.22, 2014, under Quickies

Back in 2012, I ended a southeast Asia trip by crossing overland from Laos into Sipsongpanna.  As you might remember, this southernmost area of Yunnan left some deep impressions in my mind, and it’s a joy to be here again.

I’m now here taking a month-long field course in the Sipsongpanna Tropical Botanical Garden, one of the largest botanical gardens in China and an active research institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  It’s a precious opportunity to become more familiar with one of my favorite places in this country.

This wouldn’t be chasingmirages without an environmental tragedy.  Here, the most visible destruction is the wholesale conversion of native tropical forest into rubber tree plantations.  More to come on this important issue.  For now, please try to identify the species of dragonfly in my latest macro shot (taken in the Sipsongpanna Tropical Botanical Garden) by leaving a comment below.  Another lame reward for the first person to correctly identify it!

Note: click on the image for the full-size file.  Check out those compound eyes!

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Monster Agave Penis

by on Sep.24, 2011, under Quickies

Technically, it’s called an inflorescence.  This one is by far the biggest I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of agave penises in recent months.  I estimate this one is 40-50 feet tall.

I’m now in Jinghong, the largest city in Sipsongpanna, a minority-majority autonomous area in China’s Yunnan province.  It is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen in China. Every major street is lined on both sides with towering tropical trees that shade the sidewalks, and most of the buildings, street lamps and even billboards feature artistic flourishes inspired by the traditional architecture of the Dai ethnic group, giving the entire city a unique and exotic air.

The people are also warm and friendly, a nice departure from most Han-dominated Chinese cities.

Keep tuned for more posts from Malaysia and Laos!

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