Near week's end in Mojng County

Trip Start Jul 18, 2013
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Trip End Aug 05, 2013


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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Thursday, August 1, 2013

Yesterday was another good teaching day. The teachers here seem more willing to work with other teachers that they don't know, teachers from other schools and counties.  The men bond during the break  over a smoke, which helps them work  with each other in the class.  Professional women do not appear to smoke in public, in fact, I have probably only seen one or two women smoke here in China. The women will work with each other, but are often hesitant to work with men that they do not know from their own schools.  It is also very uncommon for men and women to sit next to each other in class, and last week, when we tried to partner  men and women, familiar or not, we created quite a stir. That seems to be less of an issue here.

We went to the "Twin Wells" yesterday.  The park itself was very beautiful, with incredible flora and topiary, beautiful and interesting sculptures and wall carvings, and photos of twin from around the world that attend the International Twin Festival held here every May.  The legend of the wells involves a spirit who gave birth to twins,  was casts through ugly rumors  as evil by some the villagers and driven away from her husband and father of the twins and she turned the twins into two wells so that they could stay with the father.  (I may not be getting this quite right, I’ll do an amendment later if needed). Arriving at the truth, the villagers came to worship the wells, leave offerings, and eventually discovered that drinking from the wells  would help a couple to conceive twins. As, I wrote in an earlier post, this is very important in China because fo the one child policy.  There is no monetary fine if the 2nd child is the result of a multiple birth, so twins are very treasured, and many many couples from all over China come to the wells.  The water looked very stagnant and dirty, but I saw several couples come and take several drinks, the women all looking at little sheepish that another actions was implied bu the drinking of the water.

  All around the park are new buildings, quite ornate in a traditional pagoda way, yet they are all empty.  We don’t know if these buildings replaced other buildings, or empty ground, but clearly they need more shops and restaurants and touristy type things if this is the site of the festival.  Right now, it looks like a ghost village.  We actually went to the area of the wells because we were told that it was a good place to buy souvenirs, something we have really struggled to find.  The area around our hotel and on the 15 minute walk to the school is either food, farm and household goods, shoe stores, clothing stores, hair stylists,  interior design shops, or appliance stores, and of course, cell phone stands and China “Welfare Lottery” shops.  There are very few shops to buy gifts.  The area right around our hotel seems to very much cater to young people, as all the clothing stores are full of young people’s clothing—every Westernized.   Several  hair salons on one street  have caused me to call in Hair Street as the young stylist hang out on the steps, the men sporting large “dry pompodor-like” styles, in all colors and the women have either very curly or very straight reddish or blondish hair.

So tonight, the search for souvenirs must continue.

The weather has been beautiful, partly cloudy every day, but cool and some very interesting cloud formations amid the surrounding mountains.  There is an observatory up on one of the mountains that we can see, and on another, a temple, but Ling-Ling says we are too tired to “leave this town.”  Byt the time we finish in the evening, get back to the hotel, and eat, it is a long day, and few of us are wanting to venture out.  Also, these attractions are not open in the evening.  Tonight, though, we will search for gifts and go to the square to watch the dancing and community gathering.

I learned a couple of things that might interest others.  The Hani (and other tribes that are not in great numbers) are exempt from the one child policy.  So, if two Hani’s marry, they may have multiple children without penalty. However, if one of those people is employed by the government in any way, including teacher, they should (and will) only have one child, as to be a good model for the citizens.  

Another things that I noticed is that babies and small children—say up to about 18 months—wear pants with the butt and inside thigh area missing.   Parents right away hold their babies up when they toilet, and by three months or so, they are putting them into a squatting position to toilet.  I guess up until about 3 months, a pad is placed under the baby, but parents (and grandparents) start the toilet training right away.  By about  18 months, many children are potty trained and are helped by not having to pull down their pants, but they can just squat. 

Most of the toilets here are squat toilets, including some of the big public spaces like airports.  At the school the toilet is a tile stall without a door, and one squats over a long trench that continues through the building, under every stall.  It’s similar to a linear portable toilet, except there is no blue “sanitizing” liquid” or no regular emptying, but maybe a flushing, by running water down through the trench—I don’t really know.

I also found out yesterday that out of the 1600 primary school students that are at the school where we hold our classes, there are 900 students living here as boarders. Children as young as 6!  This is because many of the rural village schools have been closed due to low enrollment and finding teachers. 

And best of all yesterday, I was able to talk to Jim on the phone before doing to sleep last night. It was my first call from the US and it was so nice to hear his lovely voice. 

  
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Comments

Melody on

In some ways it is good to hear that you are having difficulty finding souvenirs, as it means they aren't entirely Westernized or have succumbed to capitalism. On the other hand, you would think they could readily produce such items, since they produce most of ours.

Enjoying your posts.

swashbur
swashbur on

Yeah, it's odd. there is a Hani shop or two here, but I didn't really care for some of the stuff. Maybe in Beijing or Kunming, but they definitely don't seel those China made souvenirs in this part of china.

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