Journeys to Teng Kung

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March 20th

March 20th.—Re-crossed the Louai Chang (Elephant mountain) to-day. All the mules, except mine, are unladen, consequently they ran down the whole way and did the 12 miles in three hours. My ponies, though heavily laden, keep up famously. There is some devilment up, and Judh Bir and I are sitting very tight, relieving one another during the night. At the midday halt our headman, after talking some time with a Shan whom we met, came to me and said he and his caravan were going back to Kiang Tung, as he heard it was raining at Zimme. This was rather a facer for us. Luckily I owed him R200 part payment for the ponies, which I had promised to pay him at Kianghai (as it was our policy to appear very poor at Kiang Tung). Ananias, my boy, who certainly is the most fearful and hopeless coward God ever created, was thrown into such a blue perspiring funk at the bare idea of going on alone that he went off and used all his wiles, and no doubt thousands of lies with the headman, and finally induced him to come on. Now the cat is out: during the afternoon we passed several caravans all tooling along as hard as they could, and to- night I notice, instead of allowing the ponies out to graze they are stacked close, and picquets have been posted about 200 yards off up and down the road. Some prowling band of Shans has probably been seen or heard of about here; hence our friend’s excuse about the rain at Zimme. We are a tight little party, and the Chinamen are first-rate fellows. It might have fared badly with us alone, with that skunk Ananias as a thorn in our sides. The Zimme Shan servant too does not look up to much warfare.

It is a very stiff climb over Louai Chang. A road could be made circumventing it at fairly easy gradients, but there would be heavy timber felling round the north side of the mountain. Up the south face, which is almost bare, a zig-zag road could easily be made. This little valley, south of the mountain, is quite hot, compared to the Pak valley, and swarms with every species of annoying winged insect. The ponies cannot graze, being kept in torment by swarms of large horse-flies; and we human beings are a prey to stinging flies, wasps, sand-flies, and mosquitoes. Most uncomfortable spot. Next Entry