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Beast of burden
October 23 2001

Age does not entitle you to a life of leisure. In China, government employees are well taken care off. In addition to decent salaries and perks, part of their income is deducted and matched for their retirement. People in the rural areas have no such social security and rely on their children to take care of them in their dotage. It is they who are most affected by the one child policy.


Back to the fields
October 23 2001

Many of Chinas' minority peoples have been left behind in the rush to modernity. While seeing traditional ways of life in such lovely surroundings is what attracts the tourist dollar, subsistence farmers don't see a dime. Times are changing and roles are becoming more equal but for now the Naxi women still do most of the labor in the fields.


Crossing the bar
October 22 2001

Crossing one of the little bridges on the way to Baisha




Drying corn
October 23 2001

Great racks of drying corn adorn almost every farmhouse at this time of year. Grains are dried by simply spreading them out on an available surface Often the road.




Good pooch
October 23 2001

We followed him as he walked through a doorway and into his traditional family home. Arranged around a closed central courtyard, the space allows for all types of activity. Including a lazy morning sun soak.

Old timer
October 23 2001

We met this old man on the street when he allowed me to take his picture. He then took out his collection of foreign coins, to which we were able to make a wonderful addition. He was grateful enough that he motioned us down the street to his house.



October 23 2001

The man is an instrument maker. Some of his creations can be seen hanging above his bed




The local brew
October 23 2001

His tiny wife with mismatched shoes brought walnuts, sunflower seeds and something indistinguishable for us to eat. The old man brought over this jar and poured us two tiny cups. Feeling it would be insulting to refuse, we downed the stuff with trepidation but were pleasantly surprised. The fiery home brew tasted quite good and was very warming.


Naxi commute
October 23 2001

These young women, in one of the variations of traditional costume, are headed over to a large tent set up on the edge of town. There they greet busloads of Chinese tourists with dancing, food and whatever else can be manufactured for their enjoyment. At least they don't come into the town itself.


Free range pork
October 23 2001

We know they are all going to end up the same way, but it was nice to see the lives the pigs of Baisha lead. In large towns we had seen huge pigs crammed into tiny stinking sties wallowing in sunless filth. Here the little guys run around in packs and have free range of the place. Rooting hither and yon for piggy treats. I have heard the swine squeal as they were kicked and pummeled onto a ship on the Yangtze. I have smelled their cramped sties in the narrow alleys of Shaolin. I have seen open handcarts piled with their freshly slaughtered bodies making the restaurant deliveries at dawn in Lijiang. But it is the sight of piglets playing and dozing in the sun that most makes me want to give up pork.





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