Tiantouzhai day 14

The morning has a refreshing breeze and my corner room with Windows on 2 sides is a relaxing place to read Xinran’s “Good women of China”, a revealing investigation by a radio broadcaster into the role of women in Chinese society, through the eyes of those who are oppressed and forced to conform.

Busy sounds and voices permeate the air, butterflies flutter over the rice stalks near my window. Later on the terrace I observe how business is conducted here with locals calling by with baskets on their backs plying their produce. One man has fresh white and red speckled bamboo shoots. A woman in local dress has a pole on her shoulder, a sack on one end containing a primitive balance, the one at the opposing end is full of an orange bark. She encourages me to chew a sliver. It has a spicy sharp taste like cinnamon. The girl at reception tells me it’s used in traditional medicine. Most of the stuff consumed up here is brought up on people’s backs apparently.

I chat with her for a while. She is from Fujin province and majored in business English. Never been out of China, found the job here by Internet, believe it or not.

The peaceful atmosphere is shattered by an obnoxious Chinese girl who checks in, laughs at me for asking if there is meat in the dumplings on the menu, then walks onto the terrace conducting a loud video chat that goes on for 15 minutes. She can’t talk quietly, has no sense of others’ space, no appreciation of the location and succeeds in driving me inside. She kind of encapsulates many of the negative characteristics  I’ve noticed in a certain demographic 0f modern young Chinese. Loud, rude, phone obsessed and selfish. I wonder if she has read Xinran. I wonder what her perceptions of modern woman in China are. I will never find out. She has now walked into the lounge and sits at the bar carrying on her conversation oblivious to the receptionist  1 metre away and me again. Is she going to spend the whole of her stay doing this? Now she is giving whoever the bloody guy on the other end a video tour. If they miss each other so much, why not come here together? I have to go for a walk and get away from this abomination.

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Tiantouzhai day 14

I thought cockerels only cocksdoodledoo at day break, not throughout the night. It makes it kind of confusing knowing when to wake up. As nature’s alarm clock is inaccurate I let my phone get me up. It is still dark and very very quiet as I tiptoe out of the hostel to climb 40 minutes to scenic spot 1 to await sunrise. The walk on a rug get stone path takes you out of the tiny village and over a couple of hills, each crowned by a new guest house under construction, with convenient unfinished concrete platforms abutting the hillside which serve as convenient viewing platforms. They remove the rural charm, but you have to accept that although the rice terraces is an ancient landscape it is also man made, and the locals inevitably are moving with the times, and tourism is a cash cow. I see Yao women  with stretched earlobes from which hang heavy silver ear rings, with bright blue or pink sm0cks, black skirt and leggings, brightly coloured dash round the waist, hair hidden under a black head scarf, brown weathered skin, breaking soil with hoes, selling bags of dried mushrooms, or carrying tourists’ luggage in round baskets strapped to their backs. The men are more conventionally dressed with no obvious ethnic dress. The construction workers sleep in the structures they are working on. Bags of cement are transported up the mountain by horses. It’s a miracle that there is so much development in such a place so inaccessible by road.

The sunrise was wonderful. More pictures will appear here in time.