He would get some excellent shooting, especially in the Salwen Valley, not exactly a health resort, however; and had he inclinations towards botanical, ethnological, craniological, or philological studies, he would be at a loss to find anywhere in the world a more interesting area.
But a man should never leave the “ta lu” (the main road) in China if he would experience the minimum of discomfort and annoyance, which under best conditions is considerable to an irritable man. As I sit down now, on the very spot where Margary, of the British Consulate Service was murdered in 1875, I regret that I have sacrificed a great deal to secure most of the photographs which decorate this section of my book. No one, not even my military escort, knows the way, and is being sworn at by my men therefor. How I am to reach Man Hsien, across the river at Taping, I do not quite know. Manyueen, so interesting in history, is a native Shan-Kachino-Chinese town untouched by the years—slovenly, dirty, undisciplined, immoral, where law and order and civilization have gained at best but a precarious foothold, the most characteristic feature of the people being the gambler’s instinct. But I remember that I am coming into Burma, into the real East, where the tangle and the topsy-turvydom, the crooked vision and the distorted travesty of the truth, which result from judging the Oriental from the standpoint of the Europeans and looking at the East through the eyes of the West, impress themselves upon one’s mind in bewildering fashion as a hopeless problem. Everything is all at cross purposes.
However, although I lost my way from Manyueen to Man Hsien, I got my photographs of Kachins, those people whose appearance is that they have no one to care for them body or soul. Their thick, uncombed locks, so long and lank as to resemble deck swabs, overlapped roofwise the ugliest aboriginal faces I ever saw in Asia or America, and their eyes under shaggy brows looked out with diabolical fire.