Starry, Starry Night...
The walk back to your hostel from dinner or the movies will invariably be in the pitch black due to the un-ending power outages in Kengtung. Also, since winter is dry season, there is almost always a clear sky above.
The combination of clear skies and a lack of light pollution makes for some of the best star gazing conditions you are ever likely to encounter in a city of this size...
The stars above are just brilliant. I really enjoyed just sipping on a beer on the roof top at about 8 PM to just relax and enjoy the view.
Kengtung Grand Premiere
Now I was able to ascertain that the movies were in fact pirated by the billboards here. No full colour spreads showing the movie fare for the day, just a poor colour copy of a copy of a copy of a image that they lifted somewhere. (probably not off the internet as there is no internet connectivity here...).
The Kengtung Multi-plex
Though it just looks like a shack from the outside, (actually it looks like a shack from the inside, too) this is actually the Kengtung movie theatre, complete with first run Hollywood movies.
Mind you, I don't believe Hollywood is making a nickel off the capacity crowds here. It only seats maybe 30 people, and best I can tell, they are just playing a pirated DVD for the local movie enthuistists....
Ten Cents a Dance
OK, I've heard of this before, but just by chance ran into it myself.
A local friend in Kengtung asked me to accompany him to go to a dance show or something. (I couldn't clearly understand what he meant, as he was speaking Yunnanese and me broken Mandarin, so I anyway figured I'd follow along to see what was going on.
On arriving there, there was a big party going on with people of the various ethnic backgrounds coming and going, gambling and eating and drinking and the like.
He took me over to a corner where some guys were dancing with these pretty young Shan girls, all dressed up in their traditional Shan outfits. Apparently you have to pay to dance with them, which is 100 Kyat a ticket. ($0.10 USD)
So my friend hands a couple of these girls a wad of tickets and they start dancing the traditional Shan dance with us. Every 15-20 seconds or so this older lady would look at her stop watch and blow her whistle and all the girls would rip up one ticket and toss it into the air like confetti.
That was OK and all, but the strange part was looking out into the audience and seeing all the these hill tribers watching and laughing and clapping along from the audience... I turned around, and found that my friend had abandoned me, so I'm up there alone with 2-3 of these girls dancing, and ttyring to figure my way out of this...
A bit of role reversal: Who's the tourist and who's the attraction here now ???? (I guess I know how the hill tribers feel when those tour groups come thru their villages staring and snapping pictures of them...)