Traveling China

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Transcript of Traveling China

  • 1.CONTENTS 1Pg 1 From Grey Buildings to the Grey Wall By Sidney Choi As a travel writer whos roots are planted in China, every time Im assigned to travel to someplace...Pg 6 Nation of the Yellow Devil By Danny Cho17Sweat dripping down my neck, going down following the path...6Pg 9 The Roof of the World By Henny Horensky Clambering up stone step after stone step to the roof of the world9was no easy feat...Pg 17 Village of Dirt By Mike Baik I gasped as the hot air filled my lungs...

2. Villagers posing in festive clothingFrom Grey Buildings to the Green Outdoors. As a travel writer whos roots are planted in China, every time Im assigned to travel to someplace a few hours away from Beijing my hands start to shake and my brain turns my body into a time bomb ready to explode when the time comes to find out more about one of my homes minorities. Although I can say that I have honestly never have had a night as restless as last night. After just a few weeks of planning, I was done with all my packing and I was up and ready to go visit the Western side of Yunnan where most of the Jingpo people lived a destination I had been looking forward to see by eye for quite a while. The most Ive learned about their culture and customs was some proper etiquette. For example; when youre a visitor in a Jingpo familys house, you should not stand and look all around but should instead sit with your legs crossed. Although I had all that online and hopefully completely correct1information read and memorized, unfortunately for me, I hadnt looked into the transportation as thoroughly as I shouldve and in the very early hours of the day, my jaw dropped at the sight of an aged rusty old bus, which look like it had been dented with crowbars or had suffered one too many minor car crashes. This was the transportation I paid for? At this point it didnt matter for I was still going. By the time the bus pulled onto the dirt of our destination, my legs have never ached this bad before. But my friends had been right; the west side of Yunnan is one absolutely lavishly leafy place. I happily hoped off the bus along with the rest of the passengers who let out similar sighs of relief and happiness, as they were also just as glad as I to let their own legs move about but boy, was it warm. I struggled with my backpack as I desperately tried to remove my jacket in a hurry, hoping to take off the extra clothing before I could sweat even more. While the other visitors stretched out their backs and got their remaining bags from under the bus, I let my eyes gaze around at my surroundings. There were tall lean trees with noticeable roots growing around the brown trunks that looked like they had been gently rested on top of the now slightly wet soil. When I turned around, I could see about half of the mountains that stood there, the tips of the large triangles poking the low clouds just 3. by a bit. My heart was eagerly pumping faster than normal and I had reached a whole new level of excitement. The first thing I heard was a clinking sound of thin metal gently knocking into each other. Turning around, my eyes focused on the forest clearing as two families (I presumed they were families since there was two women and two men and a younger man who stood besides them) popped out wearing red and black, which I believed were traditional colors. The women had large silver chains with something like tiny silver plates hanging on to the delicate silver in the shape of a half folded bandana while the men smiled warmly at us, dressed in half torso black colored jackets. It took me a while to realize that all of them had swords looped onto their belts for I had spent the full minute admiring the womens silver earrings and bangles which were just as intricate as the designs on their hand woven skirts. One of the men had a Muntjac slung which I assumed would be dinner that night- over his shoulder with the same amount of pride of a young lion who just killed its first prey. Even though I was quite confused on how it was warm down near the trees while the Himalayas in the background were covered in snow I shrugged it off and tugged open my bottle, taking another swig from my water now lukewarm from the humid air. With our bus now chugging away back, we all put our attention on our hosts once again and everyone who had nothing to carry helped those with hand baggage as we trudged through the trees together, following the brightly colored dressed women and men who had offered to help carry some of the extra baggage. The first thing I saw in the village was the four large painted wood slabs that stood in the middle of the oblong shaped modern houses that circled this particular centerpiece. I could also tell that agriculture was the way of life for the Jingpo people for they scrambled around the village in a disordered line coming from the crop fields with baskets full of mainly dry rice. There was also a lot of corn lined in long rows outside most of the houses. Also there were a few traditional houses I glanced at along the way to the hosts living2 4. 3quarters. Immediately I could tell that it was made of bamboo and although it was quite a sturdy structure, it looked like it would need rebuilding perhaps after maybe 5-7 years. Inside there were two floors with resting cattle on the first. The male host pointed at the top floor and motioned at his family and then put his hands and head in a sleeping position to tell me that that floor was made for the family to sleep on but now it seemed like only the animals took up this space and that the people now slumber separately. When we entered the hosts home, I quickly glanced around at the interior. Inside there was a few small sawed off trunks of wood and the smell of medicinal herbs was wavering through a basket in the corner. As the rest of the group quickly settled themselves down into chairs, the other hosts came out of a room offering us wine and cigarettes which the men gladly took while the women hesitated before politely taking just the wine bottle. In the corner of the supposed living space was a small pile of cotton woven products in the colors blue, red, and black. The host picked up a bucket of what I recognized was Madder Roots and pointed at the mountains from her house window as she tried to explain that the dye used for the wool (used for weaving clothes, etc.) was natural and that the roots used to make the red dye had come from the Himalayan Mountains themselves. From the opposite window I could see the cash crops being picked by a group of brightly dressed villagers. It must be quite useful having plenty of fresh food just next door all the time. Our hosts brought us outside to a wooden dining table and eagerly set out different dishes at an incredibly fast pace. While I enjoyed my bowl of fresh picked rice and muntjac meat - which probably was caught earlier on during the dayeveryone else had started on dessert. Little did the tourists know, that the rice cake they were all happily enjoying had been mushed up with ants from the forest. There were two English speakers at the village that had taken on the language after their ancestors who were one of the first in the minority to have started to practice Christianity. One had showed up at the dinner and told us about how the Jingpo people originated from the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau but had to migrate due to the fact that there was snow all year round in their then current area and that most of the food that fed village were grown vegetables couldnt grow there.So they moved to West Yunnans Dehong, for its warm climate so that it was easier to harvest their food but some of them split up along the way, which is why small groups of their people are scattered around the world with even some residing in India. When dinner was over and everyone had helped clean up the trash and the plates, we all walked around the village area, hoping to explore and learn just a bit more before getting a good nights rest. I could already tell that the Jingpo people also known as the Dashan people (which means big mountain- people), move where the food is. It was a bonus that there was forest nearby their village, which supplies them with more animal meat apart from their usual cattle herds and some subtropical fruits along with their crops from their large crop fields which grow rapidly and easily thanks to the rainy weather. Other than that, the wood from the forests was well used to make the houses and to make the enormous colorful centerpiece that stood straight, which towered way over my head. Soon after my eyes grew heavy and I headed back to the hosts house and fell asleep a lot faster than expected. Instead of the expected sunlight that I assumed wouldve woke me up in the morning, my hearing was greeted with the sounds of loud chatter and laughing. Once I had gotten out of bed and changed it had changed from simple talking to loud footsteps and chorused singing. I lightly splashed the slightly warm water gently on my tired face that my hosts most likely had gottenA modern form of the traditional Munao Poles 5. from the nearby Nanxiu river, to wake my tired eyes before I stepped outside to find the biggest crowd Ive seen in my life. Red, black, with a touch of blue and white, was swirling everywhere as the women danced while swishing their skirts all while following the dance leader who was like the conductor conducting the orchestra of dancers. Turbans were on the elderly as they sang along with the dancers. They all danced around the 4 Munao Poles singing in what I guessed were the Jingpo Language. I moved closer to the wooden poles, to find out that the colored paint was pictures of the Himalayas, crop, and livestock along with some patterns such as repeating squares that showed the migration and environment of their people. The female English speaker from last nights dinner waved at me from the opposite side of the Munao Pillar and told me all about th