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Archive for February, 2011

"前里之行,始于足下" – 老子
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step" – Lao Zi

Like all great trips, ours began early. We left campus around 530am to head to the airport and catch a flight to Kumming, the capital of Yunnan Province.

For those unfamiliar with Yunnan here is a brief overview of the Province, which is one of the most diverse in China. It is bordered by Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam to the south and Tibet, Sichuan, Guizhou and Guangxi Provinces to the north. The center of the province is comprised of plains and hills, while the south houses rain-forests, and the north is home to the start of the Tibetan Plateau (think snow capped mountains). For centuries Yunnan was an independent kingdom, which traces its origins to the 3rd century BC. Kumming was the capital of the kingdom, and was visited by Marco Polo when he visited in the 13th century. It’s a pleasant city, and well worth visiting.

Day 2 – the Yi Village

彝 is a collective term for a large Tibetan – Burman group, formerly known as the Lolo. Chairman Mao came up with this character when the government was grouping its ethnic minorities. They are the largest minority group in south western China, with a population around 7.8 million. The particular village we stayed with hosts very few visitors every year, like most villages we stay with, its more or less just The Beijing Center. They are well known throughout China though, as they are the top Dragon Dancing Team in the nation (and they performed during the Olympics).

After lunch with our host family we drove up to the lake (in the back of a dump truck) to see performances of traditional song and dance. It was quite an evening.

Day 3

We spent our third day in Yunnan in Shiping, which does not receive a great deal of foriegn tourism. Which may be why a shop owner asked my roommate, Ray, to take a picture with his baby… We had the evening free and did what any fun loving college student in China would do – went to KTV (karaoke)!

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