Postcard from Meng Run

TopsLast stop in China: Meng Run, a village on the border with near (?) the Muang Sing area of Laos.* As a half-day side trip destination, somewhere to check out while waiting for the afternoon bus from Meng La to Luang Nam Tha, I wasn’t expecting much. And much there wasn’t–apart from an awesome game of “tops” 陀螺, joined by what must have been the best sandlot players this side of… China? Laos?

*Where exactly the border lies around here was not clear to me. According to maps on Google and Baidu, the village of Meng Run sits right on the Laos border. But the locals indicated that it actually lies farther south, beyond a couple-kilometer stretch of fields. As best as I could figure out, it seems that the border was “adjusted” at some point in the last decade or so, in order to allow the villagers on the Chinese side to make use of the fields on the Laos side. Given that the maps have not changed, it seems that this arrangement must have been made by some kind of leasing agreement, and not by permanent transfer of territorial sovereignty. Either way, it’s interesting stuff!

Dai men in Meng Run play the "Stinky-Headed Chicken" (臭头鸡仔)variant of tops.

Dai men in Meng Run play the “Stinky-Headed Chicken” (臭头鸡仔)variant of tops.

By simultaneously pitching the top into the air and pulling back on the whip that's wrapped around it, the goal is to hit the other top that's spinning on the ground in front. These guys were masters.

By simultaneously pitching the top into the air and pulling back on the whip that’s wrapped around it, the goal is to hit the other top that’s spinning on the ground in front. These guys were masters.

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Filed under Foreign-er Travel, South of the Clouds

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