June 10, 2009 – Day 9: Xishuangbanna market / Dai village and Temple

We have safely arrived back to Kunming in route to Guangzhou, via an evening flight after an action pack day.  We started our morning in a very local market in Xishuangbanna with farmers and merchants selling everything from one-eyed rats in gerbil wheels to a plethora of colorful spices and flip-flops.  A very remote part of China, our guide had indicated that for many of the local people we would encounter at the market it would be the first time they would have seen a westerner.  The people in the busy market were more than happy to let us take their pictures and many asked if we could pull the film out like a Polaroid for them to purchase.

Table of spices in market

Table of spices in market

A variety of meats being sold in market

A variety of meats being sold in market

eggs

Local eggs with unknown coating at market

pepper

Woman prepares dried peppers for sale

After the market we traveled to a rural Dai village. An autonomous prefecture in the southern Yunnan province, 34% of the population in Xishuangbanna belongs to the Dai ethnic minority. Visiting a traditional Dai village was an incredible experience. We arrived just as the day’s rubber collection was coming to an end, so the villagers were bringing the raw white latex down to the trucks from the hills by the barrel full.  We then hiked up to the top of a hill behind the village to visit an Theravada Buddhist temple that dates back to the 13th century.  Our guide performed some ritual prayers while our group admired the statuary and architecture. 

 

rubber

Latex being brought to trucks for transport to factory

Latex collection from Ficus exlastica

Latex collection from Ficus exlastica

temple

Our tour guide conducting ritual prayer at Dai Temple

Inner rafters of temple adorned with cloths

Inner rafters of temple adorned with cloths

We had a wonderful home-style lunch featuring local foods from the surrounding farms and afterwards, our guide gave us an overview of some of the Dai people’s culture including the “opening door,” “closing door,” and “splashing water” festivals.  Later in the afternoon we had an opportunity to visit with a couple of families who invited us into their homes to talk about the village’s history and their current way of life. On our way back to Jinghong, we stopped at some of the terraced rice-flats that dominate the valley. We happened to catch a bunch of workers returning from a traditional afternoon break and we had the opportunity to see them transplanting young rice into the flooded fields.

corn

Local villager who welcomed us to tour their home

rice

Woman transplanting rice into field

One thought on “June 10, 2009 – Day 9: Xishuangbanna market / Dai village and Temple

  1. Shawn Purcell

    Awesome educational experiences, adventures and photos! You seem to be out in the country more now. Is there time to wade across a small wild stream, or flip over an unsupervised rock or rotten log during a rare private moment to see what fairly ancient local creatures might be sheltering there just like they were centuries ago?

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