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Published: August 5th 2007
We spent the day visiting some Miao villages in the southern part of China. Wow. Absolutely amazing and beautiful drive out to the rural parts. I was little uneasy about visiting the villages - when we arrived we got to watch a "traditional" Miao dance. All the participants were dressed in their tradiotnal gard. However, it felt very unauthentic. It was as if I was watching an exhibit at the Colombian Exhibition's Hall of People. I wanted to see the village, but I also felt like the people were put on display for us.
However, the ride there on the bus was incredible. The mountains were gorgeous, the rice paddies amazing. The irrigation system is an engineering marvel. All of the fields are at a slight grade so that the water runs off towards one corner, and into the next field. Some of the fields are planted very high into the mountain. It is not so much a question of accessiblity that determines where to put a rice paddy. That can always be overcome. However, a source of water needs to be present - a small stream will do. Diverting the water down the mountian in a particular direction will make your toil profitable - as long as the government gives you a good price for your rice.
We are in the part of China that as been experiencing some heavy flooding - although this is still miles away from where wer are. However, the river that we drove along was very swollen - and the village we were originally suppose to visit was not accessible because the road was washed away. There was definately evidence of flooding in the area - some fields were destroyed because of high water - I imagine that as recently as a few days ago the water was a good five feet higher than it was today.
The villages themselves were built into the hillside - and were very beautiful. I can not do it justice - words can not describe the site. Good thing I took some pictures. Now if I could only figure out how to post them to this page.
We are visting another Miao village tomorrow. The Miao are an enthnic minority in China, but are one of the dominate groups in the town of Kaili. By town I mean just over 400,000 people. One village we passed through was very large, about 140,000 people. This was the commercial center for the village area. We did visit some actual villages were the population was more towards village size.
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