Posted by: Lotus Light | October 23, 2010

Off the beaten track

The best places in China are NOT the ones that are most popular, but these hidden gems, far from the madding crowd.  This little village and a couple of other places I go to are magic.  Very few tourists, no-one trying to sell dodgy souvenirs, friendly people, and absolutely gorgeous views.

DaLuo Cun in Guangxi is a surrounded by karst mountains, caves and a clear mountain stream. Good hiking, some challenging climbing, plenty of interest.  There are stars at night – clear and filling the sky.  Not just one or two that manage to break through the city haze.

Yes, the accommodations are not 4-star hotels; there is only one restaurant, and other meals need to be cooked in the farm house kitchen if you can talk the family into turning it over to you.  Vegetables are picked straight from the garden and meat arrives on the back of a motorbike.

The fire is set with corn husks and cobs, and managed by opening and closing the door of the tiny kitchen lean-to.   Most of food is based around the trice and corn grown in the fields.  Rice for daily eating, corn for making cornmeal.   Chickens run around the gardens but their eggs are more valuable for new generations rather than eating.

 

The community is close, everyone knows everyone else, and strangers are noted immediately.  People stop to chat as they walk back and forward from the rice fields and are happy to  explain what they are doing, let you have your turn at threshing or cutting the harvest.

The area is famous for the number of old people. China’s oldest person comes from this county.  The elderly are still full of energy, working daily in the fields and taking an active part in village life.  Children spend most of their time with their parents, helping in the fields, raking corn or rice drying on the flat rooftops of the houses.

This is a busy Zhuang minority community, with a smaller Yao village just over the mountains.   I wonder what happens when the young people leave the farms and head to the cities looking for work.  Are we looking at the last remnants of a traditional lifestyle?

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Responses

  1. Beautiful photos, Lotus. I hope to get to this area in the future. I’m not into climbing, especially when it is rather steep. Will this be the end of the traditional way of living? Sadly, I think so for when the young go to the city and find how “easy” it is to get food, they will resist returning to the old ways.


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