Day 78 - Jiangcheng to Eshan - Sun 12 May 2013
Foggy dripping morning - pleased to find no condensation or water in Ozzie after the hard, constant rain. Andy slept on Phil’s back seat (did not seem overly grateful??) Magnificent "ethnic" scenery once on the road, along windy narrow muddy potholed roads through mountains, narrow villages and over quaint bridges. River was silted up in some places - must be magnificent running in wet season. People were busy moving silt, rock clearing from drains, damming paddocks in river bed. The river gorge people were probably hill tribes before the river was dammed. Hani people feature indigo blue in their jackets, pants and skirts, some men in Mao style caps. We stopped for morning tea, and an old man walking past stopped and gestured he had been hoeing up the hill with a group of others – we think he was warning us about falling rocks.
So many dressed up people were going in same direction, must be markets or a wedding. Miao women wear black headdresses with red decor, tassels tucked up if working.
Pulled in for lunch at old weighbridge, and Justin rang for Mother’s Day - how rare and precious to have a conversation! Andy says mothers not important enough to have special day (!!) but in China all women are celebrated on March 8 (International Women's Day). In addition to agricultural work, we have seen women do a lot of low level manual labour eg unloading cement bags from trucks, digging trenches etc.
Stopped at Eshan for a walk and saw Hani women, costumes, markets, children picking up live eels, man walking turtles on lead, men playing cards and tiles, smoking cigarettes through bamboo and metal bongs. Not all young women are traditional, and some combine both lifestyles.
A somewhat different story for the men though..….
For the most part, people-watching (fronts and backs!) proved more fascinating than what was on offer in the stalls and shops.
Drove out of town to look for a camp but were blocked by a tunnel not yet completed, so turned around and camped above construction site, watching graders and trucks removing top of nearby hill to fill in the valley below. Fortunately rain from a thunderstorm postponed the night shift (also disrupted our briefing meeting which was being closely monitored by people from the construction camp come to say hello). Put kettle on inside for our soup, then saw emission/steam coming from outer side so turned it off and got out petrol-driven Coleman as the rain had stopped. BoyRob thinks as the stove hasn't been used before it may just be "burning off". Beautiful rainbow and sunset after storm.