China, Yunnan, just over 100 kilometers Northwest of Kunming.
Imagine being the only guests in a Ming dynasty courtyard mansion in which little has changed since the days of its previous owners, several generations of a wealthy salt merchant’s family, the last unfortunate member of which – Wu Weiyang – was executed by the communists in 1949…
Wu Family in happier days in the Wujia Courtyard
Imaging strolling back to this mansion after dining on some of the world’s most delicious and expensive mushrooms in an atmospheric open-air restaurant where Chinese day-trippers squat down under the shady trees for the serious task of selecting and cleaning their own choice of ‘edible fungus’… Imagine being woken from your siesta by local residents singing traditional opera and performing folk dances to celebrate the 70th birthday of one of their neighbours…
Landslides, mudslides, traffic accidents, then more landslides, rock falls and even more traffic accidents. Every journey we made this summer in Yunnan seemed to involve at least one of those mishaps and sometimes several of them.
Watching the news in China during the rainy and typhoon season can be like watching a disaster movie that never ends. From landslides to floods, earthquakes to collapsing bridges, the whole country seems immersed in an ongoing state of calamities that sometimes verge on biblical proportions. Yet, until this year, we had always been lucky. We were either somewhere completely different, we had already been and gone, or we were about to go, but we were never actually there, on the spot. We were quite used to watching all those disasters from the comfort of our hotel room. Yet, this year it was all different.
The worst incident was the massive mudslide in Puladi near Gongshan along the Nujiang River, where a whole village was wiped off the face of the earth. Many people were killed and Continue reading “An Eventful Trip”