A Travellerspoint blog

Earthwatch - exploring the local culture

Around Gutianshan

sunny 23 °C

The following morning we are supposed to go up to the observation tower to get an overview of the area, but the path will be too wet and slippery to go up. Instead we walk out to Ping Kung a local village, and we all dress for more rain as forecast. So as we walk out the sun is blazing in the sky overhead and we are all very hot. The road takes us up the side of a deep valley, always up and up. The road is very well made for such an isolated area. Then as we turn a corner there is a new looking tunnel. So it looks like this road is newly installed to provide a new access to the village.
L makes a Discovery

L makes a Discovery

Welcome to Ping Kung

Welcome to Ping Kung

Then we head into the village itself. It is quite different to any of the places I have been before in my travels. The village spreads out along the road, which itself follows the river as there is really no other place for it to go. Some of the places look quite old, but there is a significant amount of new housing being built. We have been told by Justin that this is because the children go into the cities to get work and then bring the money home so a new house can be built. These are usually three stories high and faced with tiling and have balconies. On closer inspection the ground floor at least is unfurnished, as there is not enough money yet to buy more.
All around the village the latest rice crop is spread out to dry, as are beans, chillies, soy beans, lemongrass, black beans, sliced radish and bok choy. This utilises every bit of flat ground, sometimes a small concrete slab in front of the house, but also on the roads as the black surface absorbs more heat.
drying the harvest ping kung

drying the harvest ping kung

There are some great sights and lovely people who come up to ask us where we are from and what we are doing here. Fortunately a few of our team can be translators for the non Mandarin speakers amongst us, and there are some limited conversations happening. We get to talk about the crops they are drying, and they are all quite forthcoming. We have a look around the river near the top of the village and then head back to the lodge for lunch. Afterwards, we drive out to a small town where the school has just finished for the day and we are followed by a huge group of kids, particularly T who with her long blonde hair is a bit of a revelation to the kids. We get to muck around with them and take photos with them all. Beer and firewater are bought ready for dinner which will be at a nearby farmer’s restaurant in another village.
Queen of the kids

Queen of the kids

At this village there is a very nice scene with the wooden pedestrian bridge across the river and a small pagoda nearby. We take lots of photos and pretend to throw each other in the river before heading in for dinner.
Village bridge

Village bridge

Dinner is local food, which in reality is similar to what we have been eating at the hotel, but it is tastier. Also with dinner, Dr Pei has recommended firewater – the local hard spirit at 56% alcohol. It tastes pretty good, and the first glass goes down pretty well. The dinner goes along with Dr Pei’s tricks, and a bit of singing and fun. Justin reveals himself as a good singer, singing a very moving folk song. After the good start we head up to have a bit of fun and music and the common room which goes until midnight.
Dr Pei's bunny

Dr Pei's bunny

Posted by lostagain 04:27 Archived in China

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Login