China road trip, countryside, food, timber framing and more.

After attending the international folk crafts expo in China delegates were treated to a trip out to sample some of the local culture. I was a bit surprised to find we needed a doctor and a policeman on our bus. Thankfully the doctor was not needed but the policeman had a lot of work. Whenever we hit a traffic jam he would jump out and clear the way for us.


When we got to toll stations he would find us a route around the queue.

Spotted some bamboo scafolding IMG_8091

an one section of road which took us about 30 minutes to drive we saw 4 very recent road accidents.IMG_8096 IMG_8100

This one needed our policeman to clear the traffic so we could get round the driving was horrendous and the road death toll must be high.IMG_8120


The countryside is all beautiful, the farming is all human scale which means no straight lines, humans make field boundaries where the soil local climate and water dictate rather than where it is easy to drive a tractor, the results are always aesthetically pleasing.IMG_8104 IMG_8110

Ploughing is done by rotovator or water buffalo we saw both in use.


As this lorry passed us we saw that not only was the back full of people in the middle of the back jammed amongst the people was a water buffalo.


Some of the roads were still under construction

This was interesting we saw a lot of homes with just the foundations, timber frame and roof. Some were fresh built and some looked to have weathered for a year or so. My guess is that the frames are put up green then allowed to shrink and move for a couple of years before the walls are filled in.


Moving a big steel sheet Chinese style.


Now here we are arriving at the Miao minority village. It is quite touristy but also quite fun. As one of our party commented “In our country we pay our old people to sit on the couch and watch TV, here they sing songs and entertain the visitors.” It was folk culture meets theatrical production. At the start of the visit this chap gave everyone a good cupful of strong rice spirit.IMG_8166 IMG_8168

Three steps later these girls give you more poured from a horn. If you make the mistake of touching the horn it gets upended and you are left gulping lots of rice spirit, makes for a fun visit though.

More rice paddies. I would have liked to have more time to find out about traditional farming, our visit was sadly brief.


The view from the top of the village

There were lots of traditional costumes for folk to dress up in. In the centre here is Carmen Padilla president of IOV the international folk art organisation.


This chap had singing birds in cages, when he brought two cages together they would sing at each other, presumably territorial singing.


By chance there was a frame raising going on. As with this process the world over lots of folk had turned out for the raising and there was a feast being prepared on the site.

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What a great cooking set up

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Next we were in for lunch and greeted by traditional music.


Lunch was superb, the utensils were great too, notice the wooden spoonIMG_8255 IMG_8257


The rice baskets were gorgeousIMG_8263 IMG_8267IMG_8274

The view out of the window


I had to leave straight after lunch for a three hour drive to the airport, flying out of Beijing the next morning there were clear skies and the scenery is incredible. Mountains and deserts scenery like this for well over 2 hours traveling at 500 mph, that’s 0ver 1000 miles with only occasional signs of human activity.

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2 Responses to China road trip, countryside, food, timber framing and more.

  1. Wally, Belgian participant December 6, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    so nice to see all these pictures again, bringing back wonderful memories! Thank you!

  2. Eddie January 6, 2014 at 2:52 am #

    Another thing, if you stick around those “Miao”-ish parts of Southern China longer, you should noticed that there be more bamboo (not just that cute rice basket) used for daily utilities/tools. Cheers.