This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution in the 2006 journey, click to the left or right of an image in blog mode.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Baisha and Lijiang Surrounds

Christine cycling to Baisha

The folk museum we didn't visit. A funny or fun place?

Panorama of the fields

Entrance way to Baisha village

Baisha was formerly the capital of the Naxi kingdom until Kublai Khan made it part of his Yuan empire (1271-1368), but has now receded to being a rustic village in the process of becoming a tourist extension of Lijiang. It retains the flavour of what Lijiang would have been like before the tourist rush, but is also rapidly in the process of 'gentrification'.

Delicious fried kumara (sweet potato) wedges.
Recently Maori from New Zealand traveled to Asia to recollect traditional strains of kumara.

Fodder hauled back as a human burden

Serious Mah-jong in the street

Before we could move more than a few steps we had run into Dr. Ho made famous firstly by the writer Bruce Chatwin and then in Michael Palin's "Himalaya" series. Again before I could snap more than a couple of shots, he darted out to have his portrait taken and invited us inside to look at his Chinese herbal medicine practice.

Images of Dr. Ho and his fame relayed in news articles outside his house

The doctor emerges for a quick interview on camera

Trinket stalls waiting for the tourist buses

From Tibet to Yunnan Chinese chess is a street favorite

We arrived late in the afternoon, so the museums were closed, but one of the things Baisha is famous for are Ming period murals generated from 1385 to 1619, employing artists of Chinese Taoist, Tibetan and Naxi Buddhists and local dongba shamans.

Baisha mural from Ming times

Bai traditional dress and embroidery (internet)

Because we were under extreme pressure to get to the border of China having found it impossible to extend our Tibetan group visa issued in Kathmandu anywhere, we had to flag all but one of the other places we had planned to visit, heading only for Tiger Leaping Gorge on the last day after managing to book cheap air tickets from Dali to Jinghong just short of the Laotian border.

I have included a few internet images of two places we would have liked to visit had we more time in this amazing race to escape China's oppressive policies about visiting Tibet from Nepal. The first is Zhongdian, which is now adventurously named after the fabled Shangri-La (Xiānggélǐlā Xiàn in Pinyin) of James Hilton's novel. Zhongdian is a distinctively Tibetan town on the high plateau a little beyond Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Two Wikimedia commons images of Zhongdian and its Monastery

The second is Lugu Lake, the mother lake of the matrilineal Mosuo people who have become famous throughout China and world wide in Michael Palin's "Himalaya" for practising "walking marriage" in which the girls dance in the evening with the guys and choose partners for a fling back at the parental home, where their bedroom is a shrine to womanhood, by wiggling their middle finger in the chosen lover's palm.

Chinese picking up on this sexual intrigue have promptly shipped in 'comfort women' from major cities of China to service the fantasies of male Chinese tourists, who naturally are not welcome partners for the local 'goddesses' who are free and encouraged to make astute choices in a partner. As a result of rapid change the place was as of 2005 in a state of transitional development, with effluent pouring into the Lake and a lot of reconstruction.

Four internet images from various sources of Lugu Lake and its Mosuo women

No comments:

Post a Comment