May 17. Ordinary day.

Early morning we move to yet another town called Jinchang. We hope to get back to the main trail heading south towards the Laos-border. The road is beautiful again, and induces appetite for more.

We try to hitchhike here, but my stuck-out thumb is either not understood or all the drivers on the supposed main royal highway to China were locals who wouldn’t get a mile away from their domiciles. A big Lao truck’s roaring engine sparks some home, but the driver gestures that he is traveling in the opposite direction. Car after car passes, but the ones that stop are clandestine taxi drivers asking ridiculous rates to get to the bordertown. The sun sets slowly and I lower my thumb. We are stuck and in need of a guesthouse.