Last night I got back to Hong Kong from Yunnan province, China.
People have been asking me “how was the trip?” – and the best thing I can come up with is “very interesting”!
It really was an interesting experience.
The minority people we spent most of our time with are known as the “Wa tribe” (or soemthing like that). We travelled to some remote villages in the northern part of Yunnan, to places where the people had never seen a giant white guy wearing sun glasses, and to one village pronounced “pok guy” (actually spelt “Pajiewazuzai”) that couldn’t understand the concept of “Income” (funny – “pok guy” is how you say “asshole” in cantonese!).
The reason I went is I am helping the GreenField Foundation produce a video they can use to attract potential “donators” and help explain this project. Oh yes, the project! This particular GreenField Foundation’ project is trying to “â€¦encourage Bio-dynamic & organic farming and revitalise the earthâ€¦” in the poor rural areas in China. I didn’t quiz anyone too hard on the reasons, but I think it is because it is a sustainable method of farming and doesn’t require any chemicals etc.. – perhaps to save these poor people’s health, environment & wallet!
I had expectations that Yunnan was going to be a really green and colourful place – from the images and sites I had found on google. But it is the dry season there, it’s a bit grey, a forest fire meant that the sky was yellow-grey, and I am sure there are a bunch of factories pumping out stacks of nasty stuff so us folks with $ can go by cheap plastic goods.
Well that was north Yunnan anyway. I found when we went out to the west, the border of Myanmar (Burma), the place was really quite pretty and green, and also full of cool looking old Chinese style houses and farms.
Yunnan Fact #01
China’s biggest cigarette production centre is Yunnan Province, home to several popular brands such as Yuxi, Hong tashan, Honghe, Shililng and Yunyan.
It seems a big tradition of the minorities of China is to have a drink! Especially when old friends or new come your way. And it isn’t just a beer! it is â€¦ bijiu! Rice Wine moonshine style.
I think I went a little blind after this week. Everywhere we went we were greated with a fresh cane cup of bijiu. Even at the schools. The first school we went to insisted on getting me drunk and attempting to smoke a cigarette – through a mega sized bong:
An interesting/weird place we went to was a site where the local people of Xi Meng would have rituals. This place was like something out of an India Jones movie. Apparently they used to sacrifice a human once a month or year to the Gods – cut his head off and put it in a basket, and slaughter a Buffalo and cut its head off, then put is up on display. I probably have that story really screwed up, but the bit I do remember is that they only stopped killing the humans just before the Communists came into power only 50-60 years ago!
Oh yes, the toilets.
I knew I was heading into squatland again, but I was “lucky” enough to see/experience even more nasty toilets. No walls. At the Ah Mo Village Primary School school the toilets was just 5 slots in the ground , no walls between each toilet (so your fellow squatters could check out your technique), and an intense smell. If you go to rural China, take a roll of toilet paper.
Damn I’m happy to be back in HK!
The GreenField folks were a fantastic bunch of people, and we all very friendly and caring – I got a bit sick along the way and Chinese medicine appeared instantly!
Big cheers to my Dad for his Sony HDV camer, his kickass Miller tripod and all his help with the preparation!
I head to the US in 2-3 weeks so I have to get cracking with the video!!
GreenField Foundation – http://www.gff.com.hk/