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August 18th 2018
Published: August 18th 2018
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Village life

"I am in the beautiful province of Guizhou, southwest China, to share the life of the hill people, eating their homemade food, breathing the pure air of the mountains, staying in a wooden house next to a shallow river and waking to a view that took away my breath."

In Guizhou province, there are 17 ethnic minorities; the Miao, Dong and Bouyei are the biggest ethnic minorities. I went to visit a Dong village nearby Rongjiang county in southeast Guizhou province. I stayed in the Dali Dong village. I reached this beautiful village through a long, narrow and winding road, I found a pretty guesthouse surrounded by marvelous lush forest and welcome by the local people with a lovely smile.

On my arrival, I saw the local people building a little street next to my guesthouse, I had a great view over the surrounding stilted houses, from the balcony of my guesthouse. I felt immediately at ease with this place, it was what I was looking for; tranquil, laid-back, silent.

At night, I loved to sit down outside on the balcony enjoying the nice, fresh breeze coming down from

the mountains. It was a long time that I was waiting for this moment to experience the village life, staying with the local people and appreciating their slow pace lifestyle. The aspect that I appreciate most is that these people are always happy, smiling and kind, having just a bit of water, rice and vegetables.

One of the first villagers to befriend me was a man that had a little shop selling beverages and some food, he tried to strike up a conversation, with me, but my Chinese is not yet that good and the conversation was purely basic. Although my understanding was very poor, it was nice to see that he was not bothered, at all, to repeat me the questions and always with a broad smile.

During the daytime, to escape the great hot, I stayed in my room, laying on the bed to write a few lines about my experience, here, in the village. Inside the room, I had a window with a sublime view over the beautiful stilted houses, I sometimes saw a lady that walked inside a barn where she used to feed her animals; pigs and chickens, I was cradled

by the gentle sound of the nature, it was really like a paradise.

In the afternoon, I went out for a walk to explore better the village life, I saw the villagers busy in performing their labour duties; some building new streets, some building new houses, some fixing pipes, the ladies prepared the food for the evening and took care of the kids, other ladies worked outside in the field carrying baskets on their shoulders using a long, flat, wooden bar and loading the two baskets at the end of each side to balance the weight of the load, naked kids joyfully played in the shallow river, everywhere I turned my head I was surrounded by gorgeous rice terraces, it was absolutely another world.

I could not stop to walk back and forth, I was just attracted by these people toiling, living like centuries ago, it was like to be back in time and I really appreciate that, in some corner of the world, people still observe these ancient traditions.

"I am glad to be here, now, to admire such a beautiful place, I have always been attracted by the village life and also

because when we hear about a rural area, less known, we always hear of it when there are major problems; natural disasters, earthquakes, tsunami, lack of food, water, adequate healthcare, public transportation and so on….

We always know about these places when issues arise but rarely we hear about how the people actually live their life, how a place grow up and develop, I personally have many experiences travelling around the world, wherever I have been I have always found a completely different place, from what other people and the media said about, too many times I heard not to go there or reconsider your travel plans because you might be at risk travelling in certain areas of the world, but, instead, I found out that, what it was said about people or places, it was just wrong and, in this sense, the information creates quite a few problems. "

In the village, every night I liked the idea of looking for a place where to have my dinner, one night I had dinner in a beautiful Dong house by the river. As always, I had to ask for a less spicy food, I still did

not get used to the spiciness of the food in southwest China. Stir-fried vegetables, chicken, eggplant, tofu, a delicious broth, the unmissable rice and a very sweet watermelon. It was just good!!! The house was really lively, kids playing, old man sitting outside chatting loudly and smoking, ladies busy in making food, it was a great ambiance and I felt really at home with these lovely people. The only drawback is that my understanding of Chinese is not good and I always feel so sorry when I am welcome by such nice people and I cannot communicate with them, but learning languages take time, it is not an easy task to achieve.

One morning, I decided to set off earlier to explore the outlying areas of the village. In order to explore the surrounding areas I had to walk over a couple of trunks, to pass the river, but this, at first sight, made me think to turn back, fearing to fall down into the creek but then looking at some local people crossing the bridge my resilience came back and I crossed the bridge too.

As soon as I crossed the bridge, I was overwhelmed

by the stunning landscapes unfolding after me, I just stared a few minutes at them, certain sceneries really take my breath away. Pleasant was the trek along the river where some kid played in the water, women with their men worked in the rice fields, always smiling every time they saw me. Along the way, there were different kind of crops; rice, corn, chili plant, potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, peas and many more... This is a kind of ideal place to live in, away from big cities, away from the hustle and bustle and with beautiful and kind people. I am still young but I have to admit that I miss a bit the old traditions that we also had in the west but that, now, have been lost with the advent of modernization and globalization. I wonder if, in a country like China that is growing, economically, at an incredible speed, these beautiful places will ever survive for longer time or, even here, the culture of the new and modern will dramatically change this amazing place and its environment.

My days, here, were never boring, more I stayed and more I liked it. I loved climbing the hills,

watching the rice paddies, the farmers working the land, the little wooden barns scattered allover the place, the trees, the orchards, the thick vegetation, the fish inside the rice fields, the local women carrying their babies on their back tying them with a colourful and beautiful silk cloth like centuries ago, the sound of nature, I just love losing myself in such a beautiful countryside.

Another evening, I went to have dinner in a house on top of the hills with outstanding views over the entire village. In the house there were three lovely kids playing on the ground and also eating some litchi fruit. I particularly liked this house because it was older than the others where I had been previously, very basic, slightly dirty and I liked that atmosphere of old place.

The food was very similar to the one I ate in the previous houses and always very good. The kids were very naughty and their mom told them off different times, it was so funny to see them playing around and eating their food that wasted allover the house, while chasing each other. After a while they calmed down a bit and

started to eat together with us and became more obedient. I really enjoyed the time spent with this family, they made me feel really at home and I will come back again tomorrow to say goodbye before leaving this village.

My last day in the village, I spent it in complete relax, staying in my room, relaxing and entertained by the twittering of the birds outside on the trees. In the evening I went back to see that family of the last night, I really wanted to stay with them again, I just felt so well at their place. This night, I assisted at the bath of the three little kids and they all looked so cute. Their mother washed them outside on the balcony, the youngest one inside a red bucket and the other two inside another one. It was hilarious to see them happily playing in the water but, at the same time, also sad to see the poor conditions in which the family live in, the kids just have a couple of toys to play with but the things that struck me most was that they were happy staying together and all this, the kids,

the mother and the father created a very positive ambiance regardless their poor conditions of living.

My experience, in this village, ends here and I bring away a lot of positive things out of this place, above all the politeness of the local people towards me, their beautiful traditions and their great food, it was just an unforgettable experience.

My adventure continue, so see you in the next village…

Additional photos below
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18th August 2018

Welcomed into their World
Beautifully written blog Marcos. You are entering into their homes, their village life, sharing food, conversation, smiles and hospitality. Even helping to bathe their children. But most striking is you enter their World and they welcome you. I am sure it is because they can perceive you come with open heart. I have had tastes of such experiences in my travels in China but that they were only visits and you can live among them...rich rewards indeed.
21st August 2018

Welcomed into their world
That is right Dave, living in this province is just awesome, whenever I wish I can just have a taste of Asia that, now, is not easy to find anymore. Thanks for your nice comment Dave. Take care bye..
19th August 2018

Nice photo
The beauty of daily life.
21st August 2018

Nice photo
Nice people and nice ambiance Sir..

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