Category:

Death, Mud and Horses

November 6

Election day, back home, though as we’re about twelve hours ahead, we won’t get results until tomorrow. There’s been much talk and concern about the outcome, as we discovered early-on that all of us were Obama supporters.

Near the hotel we encounter a funeral procession about to start. A live rooster was on the top of the coffin. Later, on the bus, Lee explains that the rooster gets detailed and specific instructions from the shaman on where to guide the deceased’s spirit after death. The rooster is then killed by the shaman banging it’s head against the coffin.

Later, the coffin is covered in bright colors with a paper mâché man on top of it, men dressed in white, musical instruments, lines of large, round wreaths start down the street as we photograph.

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Noodle, soup and fried egg breakfast in small, storefront restaurant, a pit stop back at the hotel, then a ride to the Sui Festival we were supposed to attend yesterday in Longtai Village. We spend time walking around the village and taking photographs of people, some on their homes.

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We then head down to where the festival will be held through some serious mud. Not long after we get to the festival area, it begins to rain, so we finally get a chance to don the umbrella hats that we bought on the first day. Here’s Lee in her hat.

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We look pretty goofy, good subjects for Chinese photographers. But the damn hats work and we’re all quite pleased with our $2.50 purchase.

We walk up to a restaurant for lunch, peanut butter and crackers for me, as three Chinese meals in a day is one or two over my limit. A table of Chinese toast Obama.

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After lunch, we head down to the area where there will be horse races. We encounter a shaman, named Wang Hui Bing, who has just completed an offering. He is cooperative in posing for photos.

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The mud cakes our shoes and splatters our clothes. It’s difficult to pick one foot after another out of the mud.

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We wait for the start of the horse races, which are down a narrow mud lane lined by flags. Riders are bareback, and some of the horses are unruly, and difficult to mount.

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One or two take the riders off the track, and one rider is thrown. The horses practice one at a time, then race in twos and threes, great fun to watch.

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Blurred pictures capture some of the spirit of what we saw.

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After the races, we slog back through the mud to the road, then up the road to the bus. We try to brush and wash some of the mud off our shoes with modest success. We ride the bus a couple hours to Kaili. Nevada reads interesting CNN reports on the transition in China’s government and on the presidential election.

At the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kaili, we check in and rush up to the room for warm showers and to try to get some of the mud off our shoes and clothes. Across the street to a restaurant for another good Chinese dinner.

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