An hour and a half's bump, jolt and grind down the road from Yuanyang brought us to the fifth ethnic minority market we had visited in as many days (see previous blogs). The hill folk appearing at this market were less colourful but no less visually impressive than at any of the previous ones. As well as many members of the same group to be seen at Yuanyang's market, there were others here dressed entirely in black and wearing tall hats like those of the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, their sombre outfits starkly contrasting with the enormous multi-coloured turbans that many of their children wore.
While the streets of the village were lined with stalls, there was also an enormous, separate, earthen-floored area where the mountain tribespeople sold food, wood, clothes and much more from wooden tables or piles on the ground. This market within a market was heaving with people, so much so that it was hard to move around. Here there were not just the Nefertitis, but other groups I had not seen at any of the previous markets. Photo opportunities abounded, but more often than not I would get pushed while taking a shot or someone would
walk in front of me. Two of the Nefertitis posed smiling for me as I snapped away at them. They looked fairly young, perhaps mid-twenties, but when I passed them the camera to show them the photo, one of them grabbed it with a hand that was as hard and rough as an old leather handbag and had soaked up a lifetime of manual work.
It has been refreshing to see so many people so proudly wearing their traditional dress in Yunnan. It has not, as in some other countries, been labelled as "primitive" or "backwards". Where the inspiration for some of it came from though is starting to boggle my mind.
Click this link for advice on independent travel in Yunnan Province
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