BA BA Si (translated means 884. It was opened in april 1984 hence 88-4) is a Tin Mine located south of Changsha Hunan province in China. It was quite an experience.
Having dropped my 14 year old daughter at the airport, she was flying home unaccompanied via Guangdong airport then to Melbourne, Zhouping , Mr. Zheng Jiang Rong and myself went by train 3 hours south of Changsha , from there we took a taxi 2 hours into the mountains, we stopped when the road was no longer passable by normal vehicles. After about two hours including lunch we managed to hire another driver and a 4 wheel drive. This was a part of China where no westerners had been before. My appearance created a lot of curiosity with the local people.
The country side was very rural, passing through small unkept villages. After 2 hours of hellish roads with massive rutts and potholes we managed to get to a small town. There seemed to be a reluctance of the locals to tell us the exact location of the mine. Mineral dealers have never been here before. This area in considered undeveloped and hence is not open to foreigners.
In theory I could have been arrested being in the area, but as there were no police for hundreds of miles, it was not considered to be a problem.
Our vehicle seemed not to handle the road to well, the constant jarring and jolting distorted the frame, making it difficult to open the doors. Whenever traveling off the beaten track in third world countries, the more remote you go the more people are required as guides and interpreters. By now our party of three had become seven an we were all crammed into an old 4 wheel drive. We finally made it to the house of the miners who had the Calcite twins. They were still underground in the mine but we managed to get the daughter to show us some of their crystals . They had hundreds of calcite twins
to be continued