HAMO, like the river on which it is built, lives
a double life. In the rains its low grounds and pasture-lands lie flooded by the encroaching waters. Its tenements on the river's edge exist on sufferance, in imminent danger of being flooded and swept away. Its streets are moribund and squalid. One looks in vain for the famous trading-town on the border, the southern gateway of China, the traditional meeting-place of Chino-Burmese commerce. One looks in vain, because the road to China, on which so many embassies have travelled, is impassable for caravans in the rains, and Bhamo has perforce relapsed into a small and unimportant Burmese town.
But the approach of winter heralds a great change. Over the wild border-land through which winds the Ambassadors road, roughest of international highways, come the long caravans from Chinaathousands of hardy