May 18. Crossing into Laos.

We get up early to take what will be our penultimate Chinese bus to Mengla. It’s still a long ride down, but when we finally reach the border town of Mohan, and are in sight of the border post, we high-five like two Elvisses leaving the building. However, the border is “closed” after five o’clock, and we cannot possibly exit China.
“This is a free country” I want to shout in the smooth face of the composed soldier, but I realize that is an odd thing to say here, so I return his nod, and utter instead:
“When can we go to Laos then?”
-“Tomorrow eight o’clock.”
“Thanks” I mumble while, at the same time, simultaneously,  walking off.

That means we have to stay a final night in Yunnan, as a sacrifice to China. The guesthouse is nice though and accepts dollars (I have changed our remaining yuan in Lao kip already). A quiet night between clean white sheets and I bid farewell to China.

I think about human rights violation at the border. We should be allowed to leave any time we like, no country can play hotel California on its visitors. Maybe the excuse is that the other side, Laos, doesn’t have the capacity to let people in outside office hours. Failing to let people enter your country is not a violation of their right to free movement, as is denying them exit. Anyway, I feel this last night in China as if I am in prison, but it’s a rather nice prison with color tv. We have some local supper before we nestle in the white sheets of our last Chinese guesthouse.

A system could bio-engineer its users for reasons of efficiency. Why taking the long detour of Pavloving children with certain patented fats and amino acids, msg, cheesy proteins and sugar if you can manufacture them with a craving for those things that garantee the optimum of your profit? It’s just a matter of switching some genes here and there, and instead of the need to venture aggresively into new markets, your system could count on a stable market share.