Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Old Made to Look New: Picture perfect in Xijiang, China (Guizhou Province)


Xijiang has been bulldozed by the Chinese government and rebuilt with beautiful brand new buildings built in the typical Miao-style.  You see this all around China, in particular in minority regions that cater to China’s vast domestic tourist market.  It’s the appeal of the old, but spic and span (at least on the outside) and made to look shiny and new.  For us, we prefer a more realistic look, though I won’t argue that the results were stunning!  It’s a bit of a warped combination, these picture perfect buildings that represent reality as much as the McMansions back home…   

It was a rainy day so we didn’t spend much time in Xijiang.  We went for the market and since in our opinion, that is the “real” Xijiang, that is what we’ll  show you (after the first and only required touristy photo op – I could not resist paying a buck to don the traditional Miao attire). 


I was pretty excited when the bus dropped us off at the top of the hill and I saw this guy cruising by on his motorbike!  What is that animal?  Where is he taking him?  Will we see him for sale in the market below?


We never did find out what it was and we didn’t see him in the market but as we made our way down through the traditional Miao style buildings we finally crossed the river and found the traditional market!




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We did more people watching than shopping which is how we like it!  We both love to watch the men sewing (gender roles in relation to occupation are often flipped here) as well as the Chinese barbers in action.  They set up for every market, sometimes in the middle of the road, sometimes down by the river, really anywhere!  But they are always around.  I wonder what they charge?  We should have found out.  Note to self…find out before springing for next $40 haircut (yeah right).

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