# 59 Teaching at Taizhou Teachers College-Xiahe- The Locals

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Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe
May 3rd 2007
Published: August 11th 2007
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Daily life on the main streetDaily life on the main streetDaily 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
Three-wheel taxisThree-wheel taxisThree-wheel taxis

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.

Additional photos below
Photos: 48, Displayed: 23


Ash & HarukoAsh & Haruko
Ash & Haruko

Meet my new friends. Ash(left) is a newspaper photographer for the Straits Times in Singapore, Haruko(right) a Japanese teacher in the city of Qingdao.
Checking for bargainsChecking for bargains
Checking for bargains

Local Tibetan ladies check the prices of new shoes.
Age defies the traffic!Age defies the traffic!
Age defies the traffic!

This elderly lady decided the traffic would have to go around her- thank you very much!
Xiao Mei making shoesXiao Mei making shoes
Xiao Mei making shoes

Local shoemaker Xiao Mei and her family became my friends during my stay in Xiahe.
Xiao Mei and FamilyXiao Mei and Family
Xiao Mei and Family

Here Xiao Mei poses with husband Ma Zu Fu and daughter Ping Ping.She has been married since the age of 15 and told me that local girls who reach the age of 20 years without marrying are considered "on the shelf"- too old!
Baking BreadBaking Bread
Baking Bread

Local baker near Xiao Mei and her husband's shop was very friendly and made great flat bread!
Local flat breadLocal flat bread
Local flat bread

Some of his yummy wares!
Making tofu....Making tofu....
Making tofu....

Another of Xiao Mei's neighbours makes soy milk, tofu and soy noodles. Fascinating to watch the process.
Haruko gets a feel for the noodlesHaruko gets a feel for the noodles
Haruko gets a feel for the noodles

Fresh noodles sold by the "jin" (Chinese pound- about 500gms)
Banner for MohommedBanner for Mohommed
Banner for Mohommed

We timed our first visit to the local mosque during a funeral- but it was obvious a more joyous occasion was just around the corner. This banner, announcing the celebration of Mohommed's birthday was reerected as soon as the funeral service was completed.

This finely detailed minaret takes pride of place in the mosque grounds. Also used for a good clothes drying area!
Haruko chats with the locals at the mosqueHaruko chats with the locals at the mosque
Haruko chats with the locals at the mosque

The local Hui people were very curious about our interest in their mosque and it's upcoming celebration.
Preparing the flatbreadPreparing the flatbread
Preparing the flatbread

Our second visit to the mosque found a hive of activity as food was prepared for the imminent feast. Here this group of men prepare the dough for the flatbread. A real production line!
Two generationsTwo generations
Two generations

These ladies were responsible for kneading and shaping the flatbread.
Ash with GranAsh with Gran
Ash with Gran

This lady seemed to be a "coordinator" or organizer of the other ladies who were kneading and shaping the dough ready for cooking.
Frying the flatbreadFrying the flatbread
Frying the flatbread

Once the dough is kneaded and shaped it is then placed in oil to be deep-fried. The bit I didn't like!
The butchersThe butchers
The butchers

Making sure the mutton is "halal".
The furnaceThe furnace
The furnace

Where all the water is boiled for tea and noodle soup for all the volunteers-and visitors, of course!
Washing upWashing up
Washing up

The task of washing up after lunch was given to these two very efficient ladies.

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