Category: China, 2012

Setting Forth

October 30

Buffet breakfast at hotel. Rearranged bags (took way too much) and they were picked up outside the room at 9 AM. In lobby, met the four group members who did not arrive until late last night, Lee (from California), Sally (from New Mexico), Sandy (from Colorado)and Jan (pronounced, “Yon,” from Boston and England). Bags loaded, and we boarded the bus for the ride to Kaili, about three hours. Members of the group are “age appropriate.”. I’m probably towards the high end, but not the oldest, and there are no “kids.” Does not appear to be a “loser” in the group.

Nevada talks on bus, both about the trip and photography. She says that we are primarily travelers, and the object is to have a good time. She talks about photo etiquette when traveling in a group, what to do and not do. The trick in photography is not to be seduced by an interesting subject, but to create an interesting image. She also talks about photographing in low light conditions, which we will encounter. Nevada’s hope for herself is to get one good image a day, and, by the end of the 2-week trip, to have three images that she is happy with.

The group is more experienced in photography and knows much more about (and carries) far more equipment than I do. There was a lot of interest in my Sony NEX7, and some seemed envious of the light load I was carrying. Sally also has a NEX7 along, but just got it and is not using it as her main camera on the trip.

Our guide, Lee, who lives in this area, spoke about what we’ll see. He has personal connections with tribal headmen that will get us to places, and see things, that others can’t see. He’s also arranged for us to go to a local wedding. He talked about the many different kinds of Miao people, likening them to the many types of Indian tribes in the U.S.

Stopped for lunch and walked around town while lunch was being prepared. Very overcast, but not rainy, comfortable temperature. Located store with umbrella hats that look goofy, but most of us bought (for $2.50). Here’s Lee, from San Francisco, trying on her hat.They should come in handy to facilitate photography in the rain. Lunch was very good, more chopstick practice.

Driving on, very major construction of new roads and city being built on huge scale. Long, very colorful murals along walls, depicting minorities in area. Stopped at a small village of about 40 households called Shiching and walked around for about an hour, photographing people, the town, a water buffalo in his “house” and the burial mound of an ancestor.




Drove on to Kaili, where we stopped at a recently-renovated museum on Miao and Dong culture and history. While it was way too much to absorb, it gave us a bit of an advance taste of the costumes and festivals we’ll be seeing on the rest of the trip, and a bit of a feel for the culture.

We have been heading east out of Guiyang and, instead of staying in Kaili, which was the (revised) plan, we are heading farther east and will stay in a small village tonight that will get us closer to the festival we’re going to tomorrow. True to Nevada’s promise, the itinerary is flexible, and may well change again. We are driving through hilly country, with terraced fields that would be very pretty in the sun, but not so much in the heavy overcast. Nice to be able to write the blog and download photos on the bus.

Stopped at a modern Wenzhou International Hotel in Jianhe, which seems quite fine. Plugged in devices and went right down for dinner.another quite good dinner, though all the meals seem to be pretty-much the same, which could begin to wear pretty thin soon.
Conversation over dinner, which is always at a round table for eleven is easy and fun.

Back to the hotel by 9 PM. An early start tomorrow, 7:30, which will be our first real full day of the trip.

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