Wednesday, May 10, 2006

MaMa knows best

We find ourselves in JingHong again after a three day excursion in search of fine Puer tea and the ancient tea trees in the mountains west of here. More about that soon.

It's rice planting season, and everyone is out in the fields working hard. These plots contain rice seedlings which will soon be harvested and transfered into the rice paddies by hand. The color might not look real, but it was late in the day and the fields looked stunning.

Riding through the country side we've passed through some amazing Dai villages. The beauty of riding is that you can just stop to take a break or a walk anytime. The Dai share there roots with the people of Thailand and Laos. The arcitecture is similiar to some of the traditional houses in northern Thailand, though they use a lot more brick here. As you can see, it's still quite tropical down here.

This is impressive (though maybe only to me and Tom). With a gravel pit above, this hand built system graded and temporarly stored gravel to load into trucks. This is the kind of technology that I'm sure Canada hasn't seen since the old coal mines in the early 1900's. Spectactular.

What a beauty! This is a simple truck that all the farmers use around here.

For risk of giving you all a distorted picture of what southern China looks like, here's a picture of an urban area encroaching on the country side. It's ugly, but the trash you see at the bottom of this picture is actually sorted for recycling. See the group of kids heading to school on the path between the rice paddies?

And finally, here is a picture of me doing the tourist pose with reclining Buddah.

We stayed in a kind of homestay/boarding house (lushe) in MengHai, and the owner's mothering instincts soon dominated our relationship with her. Our first mainland MaMa was very concerned about our apparent lack of concern for our own safety. It was soon decided that she would take us to a local temple to be blessed and given talismans - blessed objects that confer safety on the wearer. After a walk across town we came to this temple, but unfortunatly the guy wasn't around. MaMa implored us to wait around until the afternoon for our blessing, but we decided that we needed to head out of town and look for those tea trees.

I crashed my bike four hours later on a mountain road. I guess MaMa knows best.


Anonymous said...


imnotchris said...

Hey Aaron,

I also fell off my bike last week. Many times as a matter of fact. I bought a mountain bike and it came with clipless pedals which I am not familiar with, but thought I would give it a shot. I inadvertantly adjusted the tension as tight as it would go, then proceeded to jam my feet into these pedals. Getting my feet out was just as tough as getting them in. Unfortunately, when I wanted out...over I went. I fell in the coulee's with some guy and his two kids watching. I fell while waiting to cross Scenic Drive in Lethbridge, AB. I fell later, biking with Katherine. I made it to the top of the hill, was very proud of myself for not having to push my bicycle and then - in slow motion, mind you - I fell again. Katherine said that all she could hear was an, "Oh shit!" before she saw me tumble. Still having fun though!