A Border Town Built for Vice
Along the murky border of China and Myanmar is a no-man’s-land where prostitution is unchecked, gambling is rampant, and the tiger bone wine flows freely.
Photos by Brendon Hong
At the countryside bus terminal in Daluo, China, the bikers have tan faces weathered by the elements and eyes wide with hope that someone will hire them for the twenty-minute journey across the border. Amid shouts of Tou du! Tou du! — “Smuggling! Smuggling!” — Kang is quiet. He doesn’t try to force his presence on anyone. In a fitted brown canvas jacket and tight indigo jeans, he is almost fashionable. The cheap lime-green flip-flops, however, throw the ensemble off balance. Only Chinese and Burmese nationals can pass through the official crossing that connects Daluo to Mong La, Myanmar. Yet many Chinese citizens don’t bother to acquire the proper permits. They hire bikers to take them across the border via mountain paths — in part for the thrill, but also to save money.
I ask Kang how much he charges for the ride. One hundred renminbi, or about $16. No hassle, no haggle, no hustle. I hop on.
Kang’s bike is a Honlei, just another cheap two-wheeled death trap made i…
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