Guest #12: Ma Xiaowei

Name: Ma Xiaowei
Lives in: Kunming, China
Home: Dali, China
Occupation: Tour Operator for China International Travel Service

Mr. Ma Xiaowei (pronounced like ‘ma shower way’.) was Drive Around the World’s guide through the Yunnan province of China. He currently lives in Kunming, but grew up in the amazing town of Dali. He works in the travel industry in for China International Travel Service where he enjoys being the eyes and ears for foreign guests touring the amazingly beautiful Yunnan province of China. Although his work keeps him very busy, when he gets a free moment he enjoys reading several Chinese newspapers a day and playing Mahjong (a traditional Chinese tile game) with friends and family. Mr. Ma Xiaowei taught the Drive Around the World team a lot about China and its warm hospitality. We all hope to see him in the States or when we return to China.

What kind of impact is the LONGITUDE expedition having in the communities they visit?

I will say the Longitude Expedition has a great impact on the Parkinson family we interviewed in Kunming on August 01, 04. And the team will sure bring about better connection of the Parkinson Disease doctor, Ms. Yao Liqing, in Kunming with Parkinson’s Institute in the States. It will be great since both parties may share basic information, latest achievements, and etc, for a common goal to eventually find a cure for the Parkinson’s disease.

Would you be up for 9 months of travel like this?

To travel around the world in 9 months is kind of a dream for me. I don’t think I may allow that much amount of time… But I will sure do it in the future with my girl friend, perhaps when we have enough money.
What is your most memorable moment during your portion of the journey?
I will say two, if not more: 1) The late-night gathering and party your team provided in Dali for my 31st birthday and 2) the endeavor your team took to help save the 6-year-old boy when we were driving between Mangshi and Ruili on August 05, 04. He fell from a motorbike when his father was driving and his raincoat got stuck in the rear wheel of the motorbike. His father was sort of too frightened even to react. All Chinese buses or cars saw but turned away from the scene. The team stopped and stretched out their hands to help, checking the wounds, keeping the boy warm by wrapping him with towels, and talking to him to keep him sober. It lasted around 30 minutes, when the emergency umbulance showed up and the boy was under the care of professional doctors. I would like to say a big ‘Thank you’ to you all for your efforts to save my little Chinese brother.
What advice do you have for future travelers in the program?
If you want to travel from Yunnan, China to Myanmar, always bear in mind that you book a tour with a Myanmar travel agent and have them to meet you at China-Myanmar border. Without presence of the Myanmar travel agent, China border officials will simply ignore to stamp you out. 
What was the best thing you ate?
Mushrooms, all kinds of different ones!
What was the most difficult part of the traveling experience?
The drive from Anning to Chuxiong, some 150 kilometers, on the way from Kunming to Dali. There is a whole lot of construction and the road is filled with dirt. We did it in almost 4 hours.