CHINA...FACES of YUNNAN


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September 14th 2012
Published: September 14th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

CHINA...FACES of YUNNAN.

I was brought up with Dr Who and Monty Python...had an otherwise mis-spent youth...comics and snooker halls...so when I read in Lonely Planet's China...that John Cleese had visited a mythical doctor in the mountains of Yunnan...I took notice.

His name was Dr Ho...from Baisha...once capital of the Naxi until defeated by Kublai Khan...now an ancient village just north of Lijiang...sitting under the shadow of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

Even Mick Jagger had been to see him.

When Michael Palin came to Sydney to promote his book "Himalaya"...told a story of visiting a mythical doctor in the mountains of Yunnan...who swore blind he had visited before...then produced evidence he had with John Cleese (though he hadn't)!

John Cleese had described him thus..

"Interesting bloke. Shit tea."

His name was Dr Ho...the Famous Dr Ho.

Bought Michael Palin's book.

As he signed it, I let slip I had also met Dr Ho...and I agreed with John Cleese's summation of the tea!

He smiled...

that smile of someone who knows first hand what you are talking about.


Baisha

We are in Lijiang's ancient Dayan Town...my return to climb the mountain...to Rectify my Regret...five nights...plenty to see that I didn't get to in my first visit.

One thing I must do...I have to go to Baisha...to find Dr Ho...should be easy.

Lonely Planet says "The star attraction of Baisha will probably hail you in the street".

Yep..should be easy!!!

Crossing the expansive paved entrance area of Lijiang old town on the way to hail a taxi...see Sherry...the young requited lover that had travelled from somewhere in the east...to Lijiang...where lovers go...to come to terms with her relationship loss...helped us find our hotel on our first night.

"We are going to Baisha...to meet Dr Ho. Would you like to join us?"

"OK. Why not? And who is Dr Ho?"

"Taxi."

The other attraction of Baisha are its temples with Ming Dynasty wall frescoes...pretty poor condition...being lost to time...and the elements.

Nice non-tarted up traditional Naxi town...quiet...windswept...mountain next door.

The taxi driver then drives us on a little tour around the village...then stops...indicating we get out...and

"Just walk down that road."

And about 50 metres down...just like in Lonely Planet...a man comes to meet us...white cotton coat...sign outside

"THE FAMOUS DR HO"

"Nice to see you again" he says..."Come in and have a cup of tea."

The walls are covered in newspaper clippings...photos...magazine covers...all about him...fascinating...couldn't help but wander and look.

But Dr Ho is insistent we sit on some wooden benches...requiring we pay attention...like a little schoolroom...with the teacher insisting the class be quiet...hands us each a cup of tea...bits of gritty green matter getting caught in our teeth.

He tells us how his father knew Joseph Rock, the famous botanist and that is how he learnt English...is in 2,000 travel stories...known in hundreds of countries...consulted for his herbal remedies for cancer...for every known ailment...now 84 years old...no plans for retirement.

I think he also had a cure for shark bite!

Tells us we can find him if we look up Google...type in "Most Admired Man"...humble...my kinda guy...tell him he is also famous in Australia...he probably not surprised!

I video his lecture...he quite comfortable with me doing that...then leads us into his Clinic...more like a storeroom for every herb imaginable.

Denise succumbs to a consultation...looks at her tongue...feels her wrist pulse...diagnosis...then mixtures of herbs with his assistant busy...wrapped in brown paper...one for hypertension...and this for a poultice back rub...fee by donation...me not wanting
YIYIYI

Shigu (Stone Drum Town)
to know what may be wrong with me.

Insists on having us sign his Visitor's book...rummages in some drawers...here it is...one for each country...an Exercise book...with "Australia" printed on the cover...glowing reference from me inserted therein...more tea?

Sherry had never heard of him...amazed he was so well known...lives in the back of beyond...and that these Aussies had travelled so far to meet him!!!

The mountain winks at me as we leave...the wink of someone who knows you have unfinished business...now I have consulted with Dr Ho...I'll see you shortly...to "Rectify my Regret".

CHINA: Lijiang...Rectifying my Regret...4 years in the coming



Shigu (Stone Drum Town)

Not many tourists go to Shigu...not many tourists like to pay an entry fee into a town...a toll if you like...best idea...tour groups simply refuse...great we are the only tourists here...another Chinese well kept secret.

About 60kms north of Lijiang...the First Bend of the Yangtze...where it swings 180 degrees...well known spot...but who knows the village you can see from here?...wedged in the valley...Shigu.

In 1548 A.D. a Naxi army defeated the Tibetan Tufan Army...and Mu Gong carved a slab of marble into the shape of a drum...hence Shigu...which means "Stone Drum Town."

It is said that during times of war...a crack opens up in the stone drum...that closes in times of peace.

Not sure what the crack opening on the LHS signifies.

And overlooking the town...one of the most evocative statues I have seen in China...two figures...a farmer looking with reverence into the face of a Red Guard.

A museum celebrating Mao's Long March...Yunnan's significance in blooming the seed of that symbol of China's Cultural Revolution...Shigu playing its part...location, location, location.

Wandering the village...market day...residents of Naxi, Bai, Lisu, Pumi & Han...the biggest wreath of chillies I have ever seen...burns my eyes just looking at it...a man scoring a hunk of pork with a blowtorch...a sack of dope seeds...herbal remedies...the Miao shaman (my opening pic)...holding Court...weaving his magic.



Tapestries

I wander Yunnan...women everywhere...generally communal and friendly...many ethnic groups...many sewing.

I am in Dali...the home of the Three Pagodas and the Bai...the walled ancient town on the banks of Lake Cuihu...where if you want a guide...you have to have 5...yep...a local idea of cashing in on a film about 5 Bai girls.

Getting dark...wandering down the cobbled street on our way to dinner...a Bai woman puts a photo album in my face...tapestries for show...where's the Restaurant? This one...OK...I'll be back.

Leads me down dark alleys...into a dark doorway...up some ricketty, narrow circular stairs...into a small room...filled with tapestries...weavings of local peoples...her business of 20 years.

Gives me a cup of tea...in a stained, cracked glass...time to sit back and enjoy...and further assist the Chinese economy.

Bought 9 pieces...Miao, Bai, Yao & Dong...four now as cushions for our Shanxi stools...at our 19thC Shanxi walnut altar noodle bar at home!



Chinese Medicine - Part Two

Walking down the cobbled streets of Dali...nice sunny day...jeans & T-shirt...just been on the wall...trip on a rough cobble...stagger...tread in one boot catching in the bow of the laces of my other boot...feet temporarily caught together...falling...

...SPLATTT!!!

Initially only worried about my camera...YOW...my left arm...razzed & grazed badly...blood welling...Shit...

I've got the germs of 1,000 years in my left arm!



Taken to a local chemist...massive bell-jar of Iodine...applied to my arm from a sponge on a stick...yellow arm...stings like hell...starting to throb.

It doesn't seem to be getting better...concerns me greatly...I don't want to lose my arm.

If Iodine isn't helping...what's a stronger antiseptic?

Ping...brain engaged...why didn't I think of it earlier?

We are drinking the stuff!

Beijing Water...56% sorghum white spirits...let's give it a try!

Pour it over my arm...everyone watching...yes...I do have witnesses...maybe untraceable...but still witnesses.

The throbbing in my arm is ebbing...is now gone.

Yikes...what is happening?

The grazed skin and wounds starting to close...healing in front of our eyes...just like in a Terminator movie.

Well...that's how I remember it!



Do I believe in Chinese Medicine? ...sure do.

Do I believe in the power of Beijing Water? ...sure do...

Why further?

Now that's an amazing story...watch this space.



Relax & Enjoy,

Dancing Dave


Additional photos below
Photos: 92, Displayed: 28


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SANISANI
SANI

Shilin Stone Forest
TIBETANTIBETAN
TIBETAN

Lijiang
BAIBAI
BAI

Dali
CHEWING THE CUDCHEWING THE CUD
CHEWING THE CUD

Naxi & Yi in Lijiang
LISULISU
LISU

Liming
NAXINAXI
NAXI

Shigu
LISULISU
LISU

Liming
NAXINAXI
NAXI

Lijiang
NAXINAXI
NAXI

Lijiang
DR HODR HO
DR HO

Baisha


14th September 2012

Good to see LP got something right for once ;)
I'll have to make my way up there and see if he has anything for my bunions! Then again, like you Dave, I'm not really that interested in finding out what else 'may' be wrong with me. However, it does sounds like the good ol' Beijing water is the cure for all ills....does it keep ex-wives away too???
15th September 2012

THANKS NICK
Dr Ho would be pleased to see you again Nick...diagnosis by donation...herbs to cure bunions...sure can...just soak in Beijing Water...and watch them disappear...in front of your eyes!
14th September 2012

Smiling faces
Clearly the people in these amazing photos have been touched by the Dancing Dave magic. You can see in their faces that they are responding to you, not just smiling for a photo, and I'm sure they have as great memories of you as you have of them. You open the door for the rest of us travelers--thanks.
15th September 2012

THANKS TARA
What can I say?...Thanks
15th September 2012

Master of the portrait
Once again you have provided superb photos of those you met along the way. Being nurses we love the Chinese medicine stories. Maybe we need to take the cure.
15th September 2012

HI DAVE & MERRY JO
Do I believe in Chinese Medicine...sure do. Do I believe in the power of Beijing Water...sure do. Other than curing my arm...Next blog will tell you why!
15th September 2012

Love this area.
Fantastic [photo=7144539]
15th September 2012

you always amaze us with 'the faces' photos!!
.....and of course it is good to see famous Dr. Ho;-) B&T
15th September 2012

HI BEATA & TOMEK
Great to hear from you guys and glad you are checking out my China blogs...yours were very special. And did you meet Dr Ho...and if so, did he come to meet you?
16th September 2012
TIBETAN

I love this pic..
Something compels me to keep coming back for another look at this wonderful shot. Brilliant stuff Dave! This guy really does look like he would be great to share a few jugs of Tibetan mead and a glass or two of yak milk with :)
17th September 2012

Every picture tells a story don't it. Well done. Laughed at the interesting bloke shit tea. Expect nothing less of John Cleese.
17th September 2012

THANKS ANDREA
Every picture tells a story...every face a reflection of their life...my privilege to share them
17th September 2012

Brilliant pictures
I do love your pictures. Of course it´s true that it´s only because of the people, the different cultures, but you are a great discoverer of faces and reactions!!!
17th September 2012

THANKS GRACIELA
Discoverer of faces & reactions...thank you for your kind words. I really enjoy the interaction...and their generosity in allowing me.
17th September 2012

Dont you just love them Chinese.
This has been my kind of blog Dave. I just love the kookiness of the Chinese, the germs of 1000 years in your arm, just brilliant. I'm betting on a more positive note that you also have a prosperity palace nose and ears of abundance? I was told by many a medicine man there that you can't live a full and happy life without them, which you clearly are/so have....Best wishes Claire
17th September 2012

THANKS CLAIRE
I've still got my arm...and a bit of soul. Been called many things...prosperity palace nose & ears...first time...not sure whether I should thank you for that! Glad you enjoyed the blog...my pleasure to relive my adventures in China...more abundances to come...watch this space!
18th September 2012

Gorgeous portraits
They are beautiful portraits...I particularly like Mosuo...I like the getup!
18th September 2012

THANKS RACHAEL
Mosuo...the people from Lugu Lake...matriachal society...where the women are in charge...nice choice.
18th September 2012

Prosperity palace nose / Ears of Abundance
A prosperity palace nose is good news. It means you have An abundance of wealth that will follow you where ever you go, you may not win the lotto or be born into wealth but your needs will always be looked after by kind people where ever you go. Ears of abundance, means you hear much in life which will always direct you if you listen....to success. The Chinese said I have both, I got used to people pointing to my nose then wanting to read my fortunes. Was so funny.
18th September 2012

Prosperity palace nose / Ears of Abundance
Thanks for this dose of Chinese wisdom, Claire. You have it...wishful thinking so do I. Once had Master of Scholar Woodcarving approach me in Xian saying I was an artist...he could tell by my eyes...the way I looked at things! Funny thing was he was right...I too was a woodcarver!
18th September 2012
MIAO SHAMAN IN SHIGU

Yunnan is my favourite province of china- reading your account makes me want to return...
20th September 2012

Exceptional blog
sure makes a more interesting read than Lonely Planet. I might drive to Yunan again during the National Day "golden week". Apparently all the toll fees are free for the week !
20th September 2012

THANKS DEAN
Glad you have discovered "my" Great China Road Trip...never a dull moment...join me for the ride. Never heard of Golden Week with no tolls. When & where is that?
20th September 2012

Surely a candidate for Blogger of the Week
Come to think of it, how come you've not got this title yet !?
20th September 2012

Golden Week
We have the National Day holidays from 29th Sept to 6th October, China's version of the Japanese Golden Week holidays. Everything closes down, and many Chinese go back to their hometowns, so in order to facilitate the madness of people travelling back home by bus, train, plane etc, the government have decided that expressway toll fees will be waived for the week.
20th September 2012

GOLDEN WEEK
Thanks for that Dean. Sounds like Chinese New Year if the populous return to their home towns in Golden Week.
22nd September 2012
TIBETAN

What a wonderful face...
...and you've captured it so beautifully in this image!
22nd September 2012
TIBETAN

THANKS SHANE
Smiling with the wisdom of ages

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