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Published: August 11th 2007
Daily life on the main street
Daily life on the main street is always a colourful mix of the modern and traditional.
The present residents of Xiahe consist of about 45% Tibetans, 45% Han Chinese and 10% Hui Muslim, providing an interesting mix. As development continues, with road-widening projects, rumours of an airport, the tearing down of traditional housing and the erecting of ugly, bright new hotels and ever more souvenir shops, it is obvious that this mix is rapidly changing. The local Tibetans and Hui are being squeezed into a smaller and smaller area of town, or, in the case of the Tibetans, being moved further west. Mass resumptions have been common and the displaced people are usually offered "peanuts" as compensation. Very sad, the price of progress.
On a brighter note, the people of Xiahe are an engaging and optimistic bunch. Many are philosophical about the changes that have taken place over the past decade or so. Some of the older residents are nervous about the changes to come.
During my first visit here in May, I was lucky enough to link up with two friends, one from Singapore and the other from Japan. These lovely ladies "adopted" me for a few days which allowed me to communicate with the locals much more freely. (Yes, my Putonghua (Mandarin) is
These three- wheeled taxis are a common, cheap and convenient way to get around town and beyond. Fares are not set but always negotiated.
still atrocious!). In particular, we spent a lot of time with the Hui community as they prepared for a big feast day to celebrate the birthday of Mohommed.
This current visit (July) I have had the pleasure to relocate many of these people to give them photographs of the time I spent with them just 2 months ago. It is amazing the pleasure one or two photos can give- and not only to the recipients! Everyone in town wanted to view them! So meet some of the locals (human and otherwise) of this very special place.
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