Yuanyang's story 03 _The Eastren loop

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August 30th 2010
Published: September 2nd 2010
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I did planned my trip to E-jia in Chuxiong area for the Mid-July Festival. The shortest distant(but bit complicated) from Yuanyang on the map was through Honghe via Yuanjiang then reach E-jia, figured 2 days would be enough. So I caught the earliest taxi down to Nansha and miraculously hit the Honghe bound bus right away. "very lucky" I told myself, a good start mean a lot for a complicated route. But then I find out the road once outside Nansha to Honghe direction was under construction, again???!!! Wasn't it started 10 years ago??? Memories flash back in lightning speed..."will never... never travel on this road again", my HK friend Dong said after a frustration wasting day on this road under the hot sun, he was heading to Wuwan market(never get there) some 8 years ago, and was stuck by the Red River because of road construction, probably the same location as I was there about 6km before Wuwan. I thought the Nansha-Honghe road had been longggg completed, but then...perhaps the prefecture has too much money in budget, they decided to widen the highway this time, so...re-dug up the land again! Still it should be ok for slow roll through but... "the rain was so heavy last night" a passenger in our bus said, and the road was blocked by couple of huge rock caused by landslide. "cannot go through" our driver said after couple of hours waited and he added "I will go back to Nansha" he advised us to walk the 6km then should able to catch transportation to Honghe. 6K...I not even had my breakfast...under the hot sun...and worser was I noticed my camera viewer was blur after 2 shot of the Red river(how come the red water became milky colour), it scare me as I knew something wasn't right with my lens, but it could be just the heat still...it would be a torture to travel with an un-usable camera. I had to made a decision walk or returned with the bus...looking at the rumbling dusty road...what about another block further...almost 4 hours and I was still no more than 10km from Nansha...damit..."I go back to Yuanyang" I told myself. So... Back through the bumpy road we got stuck again because of a car had been sunk into deep mud, caused me another hour before step onto the unpleasant Nansha soil. Went to took my breakfast(at 2pm), couple of concrete ceiling slabs fell from above hit the floor around me while I having my noodle, another miracle of today...I wasn't hit! Woah...shouldn't go anywhere...better go home...quick!
Settled back in my house in Yuanyang, looking at my packed bag??? I should do something, quick checked on my market list...got an idea for a few days market trip which I didn't need to unpack. Ha...you know what... I had a swollen ankle the morning I ready for the market trip, no reason and not a sign...I still went hiking the day before! I could only blame it to the humid climate in Yuanyang I guessed. I couldn't even stood properly so...again...I cancel the trip! Anyways...weather wasn't that good the next few days, and I thought..."perhaps I was actually lucky to stay behind ".
Finally I waited the market cycle and load my backpack(still hadn't unpack!) and came to Shangxincheng today. The last time here was more than 6 years ago. Although the road condition had been better, still not many transportation run this trip from Yuanyang(only one bus/day), later I find out there is a new road come from Nansha now. It should changed the road network structure, Yuanyang wouldn't be the center of all destinations, this eastward road was like a single long arm, not until Xiaoxinjie you couldn't get back down to the Red river valley, now...there were more tee-off routes. Heard there is one after Shengcun, one near Ganiang and this one in Shangxincheng, but...why built so many road? Coming out from Yuanyang town and you could see... No...you are wrong...not terrace scene, it was the road construction work. Building roads seem like the more important agenda for its tourism developed. Since this company reside here, there was never ending building works, roads...ticket booths...view platforms...! But there was one item I couldn't understand, they build many small islands and planted trees inside, just like they did in city's pedestrian street, but here...right in front of wall of tree line in the countryside? Again...there should a lot of money needed to spend! The scene once after the so called tourist area Duoyishu became different, more wild, the mountain formed different shapes, the road roll around the valley of mountain provided many different view angles, what a refreshed if you had been fed up by the immensity of the plain terrace scene in Yuanyang. Life in this part of Yuanyang hadn't change that much even with a better road, horse and donkey still an important vehicle for the locals. Market in Shangxincheng wasn't big, busier than the last time I had seen it, perhaps because of more roads as I noticed there were many trackers nowaday. Shangxincheng got all the market ingredients, busy although small, jam street with packed crowd even with not much traffic. because of of its out of the way location, you wouldn't see many outside market traders, most were locals vendors provided...mainly foods and general products, but with some additional merchandise...used and second-hand or defected thing, but seem like those were the hot items in the market as crowd mostly seen around those sellers. The market were full of dressed tribals. Hani was the majority, they were the same tribe like those habitated in Jinping. All fabric are dark indigo cotton, the costume all embroidered with elegant lined pattern in blue, their unique headdress had whisker on the back like a small cascade. Second in number was the Blue Yao, they all had full costume with extra decorated in small details, many young girl with blooming cotton hat could be seen. Then you could count the Miao, they always provided their share in the market scene. There was a small number of Yi show up as well, dress the same like those in Yuanyang, only with simple headdress.
Shangxincheng township was established in the year 1796, one could still found the location of the old governor mansion, now they even took the effort to rebuild it(for tourism is the only possibility I could figure), you probably could spot it on you way down into town, stood on the left hand side before the local high school, with the typically tourist touch, colour painted columns and flying tile-roof.
The same and the one and only guesthouse was still there, and now they did put a small sign in front, and invested a bathroom with solar heat and a toilet in-house, which made staying in town a little bit more appealing.

Bus Yuanyang to Shangxincheng 25 yuan


The 16km walked between Shangxincheng and Xiaoxinjie was exactly what I had remember back 6 years ago...pretty! The best was no up-down clambering all the way. Although I was trying to done it through small trail this time, but everyone I enquired about the trail discouraged me that it was difficult as no one walked those trail nowadays, "could be dangerous" they told me. So...I better listened and keep to the main road. About a kilometre out from Shangxincheng already a lovely scene of the valley, then there will be undisturbed view all the way until Xiaoxinjie, the whole area were covered by ocean of golden colour at the moment, but could see harvesting already start at the bottom of the valley, where warmer at low altitude and they could have two crops in a year. There were many village along the road, Hani village, Miao village... ! The only thing I aware was more cars running on this road now, especially those mini-bus operated between Nansha and Xiaoxinjie. Seem like nowadays you could visited markets in this area in a day trip from Yuanyang. And I did try the new road through Fengkoushan down to Nanshan on my return trip later. Good paved road wounding down the valley, but the road after Fengkoushan was hell...dusty and bumpy, with the immensely heat, the last 29km was suffocating.
The Xiaoxinjie market was big and busy, since the easier accessed by car, many outside vendors came with vegetables and fruits, all sort of general goods and merchandise. Market still going strong well after noon time, tribals arrived on foot from different direction. Hani filled most part of the open market-place, especially the costumes quarter where the women selling their garments and embroidered pieces. Here you could see many women dressed in their best outfits, the crown style headdress, straight plaitness jacked seem like fresh from ironing work, and laced over with silver jewellery, actually there was another tribe of Hani, although costume were quite the same, but they tended to used colour thread for embroidery patterns. floated in between the sea of monotonous costume dressed women stood many tiny refreshing colourful hat, those were the childerns wrapped in baby carrier. Miao made up another big portion of the tribal scene in Xiaoxinjie, only the older women stick to the traditional style of dress and head turban, most younger one wore the more lighter fabric now, with whisker of plastic beads run from shoulder to shoulder and created a V-shape in front. Also I saw couple of Han-Miao like those in Laomeng with long skirt in the market as well. Here you could see the Yi like those in Shangxincheng with simple headdress, only more in number and details here, with a headband set their hair underneath the scarf. also there was another tribe of Yi...yes...the Puyi...you probably knew it already! Jacket and trousers similar to those in Lengden or in Mengz, but they decorated their tail belt with many fluffy cotton balls, their costume used to be same in red-orange tone, but I saw some women used white and light blue this time. Although there were many Yao villages around, but the Yao attendance was low, here could you seen the same blue Yao.
Xiaoxinjie also established more than 200 years ago, actually it was under the same administration together with with Shangxincheng during Ming Dynasty. Since it was at the main crossroads, one down to the Red river and one to the eastern most of Yuangyang county, the town blooming bigger, most shops and restaurants and guesthouses. But I didn't like the town too much, mundane with coldness, I never like a place where every houses or shop were gambling...playing card or marjhong. Still...I find out there is trail I could walk over the Yingpan township in Jinping which I wanted to try long time ago, think I need to come back again some time.

Bus Xiaoxinjie to Nansha 25 yuan

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