There isn’t much to smile about with what is going on in Tibet and the surrounding regions but this article on the BBC website did force a chuckle:BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | ‘Free Tibet’ flags made in China
The Long Horn Miao (visited in 2007)
I’ve never felt comfortable about visiting small villages, only to gawp at the exotic inhabitants. When trekking or walking in the countryside, passing through a remote village can be a rewarding experience and a nice break, but I am always glad to move on, unless I am going to eat there or stay the night. So it was with some conflicting thoughts that we set off to visit the Long Horn Miao.
Below are our thoughts on the visit. For Further information on how to get to the Long Horn Miao villages and how they do their hair go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China
I am not an Anthropologist, my degree is in East-Asian History. So it is difficult for me to pontificate on what should or should not be done about the Long Horn Miao villages. I enjoyed the visit. I took some great photos. The scenery is stunning, the costumes and hair are fantastic and the villagers friendly. Nevertheless, I can’t help wondering what impact tourism will have on their society. Are we, as some of the first tourists, only the shock troops that will pave the way for hordes of well-heeled Chinese and Western tour groups on ‘adventure’ holidays who will commercialise and eventually destroy the Long Horns’ traditional lifestyle? It is something that worries and disturbs me – though I can imagine many of you thinking ‘you shouldn’t have gone then..’.
On the other hand, and looking on the positive side, tourism might help the Long Horn Miao to preserve their culture. By learning to take pride in their ethnic culture and being able to earn a living from it, the exodus of the younger Long Horns to the towns might be halted.
Change is inevitable, and the modern world has already caught up with the Long Horn Miao. The young children go to school in Soga, which is only an hour and a half away from the large town of Liuzhi, which in turn is connected to Anshun and Guizhou’s booming capital, Guiyang.
The main reason for going to Tianshui is to visit the fantastic grottoes known as Maiji Shan Shiku, or Haystack Mountain. Maiji Shan is a flat-topped rock formation, set in the midst of dense green forests. There are two groups of three large statues each, the highlight of which is a 16-metre Buddha, carved on the rock face. Then there is a whole series of caves, connected by amazing walkways that provide good views of the statues, as well as the opportunity to look into every nook and cranny of Haystack Mountain.
For More go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China
The Yin Yang Bridge in Cixi, Wuyuan.
In the next week two new new articles will be posted on:
HolaChina: Your Gateway to China
The first will be about the town of Zhenyuan in Eastern Guizhou.
View over Zhenyuan
The second will be about the area of Wuyuan in Jiangxi Province.
The Yin Yang covered bridge in Cixi, Wuyuan
Huanglongxi: Where Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon was Film
Huanglongxi: China’s Little Hollywood: Close to Chengdu is the town of Huanglongxi. Though not on the foreign tourist map, it is definitely a must for domestic tourists. Huanglongxi has been the stage set for many of China’s most famous soap operas, TV series and historical dramas, as well as some of Hong Kong’s biggest Kung Fu blockbusters. More recently, the box office hit ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ was partly film in Huanglongxi.
Huanglongxi: China’s Little Hollywood
It is a small town with a number of perfectly preserved streets and traditional Qing dynasty houses. Unfortunately, some of the streets have become slightly tacky, due to the proliferation of souvenir stalls.
Nonetheless, if you stroll a few hundred meters away from the main tourist drags, you will find yourself in equally beautiful, but quiet, back streets that even now preserve their artisan shops.
You’ll find places where they build paper spirit-houses, make bamboo fans, crush chillies and braid rope from straw. If you’re lucky, you may catch an opera performance in a side-street teahouse, or musicians rehearsing with traditional instruments in a back room.
While at weekends and lunchtimes the village can be a bit overrun, we found our afternoon visit rather relaxing. Next to the river are a host of teahouses, where snacking on spicy shrimps and fried fish and slurping gallons of tea are the order of the day.
Huanglongxi: A good place to Chill Out
Most of these places will also do a good cold beer, if you fancy a change. Besides the teahouses, traditional architecture and flagstone streets, Huanglongxi also has a few interesting temples that are definitely worth a visit.
In fact, one of these temples boasts a real theatre in its courtyard, where you can partake of tea on the stage. This is also where they shot some scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Wutai Shan, the stunningly beautiful area of Buddhist monasteries in China’s Shanxi Province, is under going radical changes. The local authorities are attempting to evict hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have been living off the tourist trade. While Some of them recent arrivals, others have lived under the mountains for generations and helped the Communists fight the Japanese. The reason for their eviction? So that Wutai Shan can claim UNESCO World Heritage status and thus attract even more tourists.
Government presence in Wutai Shan even in 2001
This information was published in the Guardian but the URL has been lost. A cyber attack maybe?
A more peaceful Wutai Shan
The Hakka Regions and the Earth-buildings
The bus ride from Chaozhou back into Fujian through the Hakka areas is beautiful. You pass through green mountains, rolling hills and rich farming land. What is more, there are several stunning villages along the way, great places for a quick stop and a bit of exploring, if you had your own car. Of course, there is also the occasional ugly industrial town to remind you that you are still in the 21st Century.
There is a marked difference between the Han villages you see on the early part of the journey and the Hakka villages near the Fujianese border. The Han villages are compact, houses are made of stone and white-washed, a number of them are two-storied with traditional eaved roofs, quite similar to the famous Huizhou architecture, near Huangshan. As you approach the Fujian border, the ordered Han villages give way to more spread-out farming settlements, characterised by the traditional Hakka earth buildings. The ones you see along the way are absolutely authentic and family clans still live in……….
For more go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China