National Geographic : 1940 Nov
Burma Road, Back Door to China Gods of the Stars Keep Vigil Outside Paoshan's Main Temple Wuff, black-bearded figure at right, is the principal stellar deity. His fierce features are embellished with an extra eye, which appears here as a narrow slit in his forehead (page 647). Kneeling mat and incense bowl lie on the pavement. A second bowl stands on the table. that the sudden gusts would not cause the car to skid or swerve over the edge. We halted while coolies worked nobly in sun or rain to clear earth that had fallen onto the road. The big avalanches kindly waited until we had passed. They slid down behind us, as we found out on our return to Burma. Mountainsides slipped and carried the road with them, forming an impenetrable barrier. Shortly after we reached Burma, I received a letter from one of the many Chinese friends we made on our journey: "The rainy season has set in with the month of June, and it will not be over until late October. Now we have wet weather nearly nine days out of every ten. "Blockades and incidents due to muddy roads and falling of mountain soil are often reported along the whole highway between Kunming and Wanting. The worst place is the section between Chefang and Lungling.... "In the middle of last month, one of our trucks fell into a ravine on account of loosened soil due to rain, and the chauffeur's life was sacrificed. "Although the damaged places are to be re paired as soon as we find out, we are warned that the Nature's mischief may happen at any unlucky moment, and we can never tell how long it may take to clear up a blockade, etc. often several days. "Moreover, countless places along the whole way to Kunming are deeply rutted. The big trucks may follow the ruts, but small cars can not, as the body of a small car is too low com pared with the high trucks." With the temporary closing of the road, stores and munitions were piling high in Lashio and Rangoon. This was serious to China, and it has become increasingly so since the supply route through French Indo-China has been closed under Japanese pressure. Before Japan arrived, a vast seaboard gave China's trade unlimited contact with the world.