Shaxi Valley: 15th April 2011
The Dali road is currently being upgraded to an expressway, straight through all the villages and their fertile land, full of minerals from the waters springing from the mountains each side of them. Houses and villages are being built to house the losers, of course, not easy for the elder villagers, used to their old ways. The dust and upheaval for each of them along the edge of the expressway is a sad loss of their beautiful situation, which was a peaceful valley existance, well watered by the river, with a view to the distant snow capped mountains. The previous road served them well, now it is needed to get the freight and tourists (of which we are part of the problem) to and from the two main towns of Dali and Lijiang, and further to Shangrila (Shangelila) and hence to Tibet.
New homes behind the fields are being built for the farmers who have lost their homes through the building of the expressway between Dali and Lijiang
The small plots here are garlic. The other crops are wheat, broad beans, bean shoots like grass.
potatoes and plenty of corn grown under plastic is grown on the mountainside
The Bai homes are often two-storey stone and wood abodes, topped by double-tiered roofs with wooden folding doors and ornamental window panes. Bais love to decorate their walls with elegant wash paintiings. Courtyards are very popular, and very pretty with pot plants and ornaments. This is in fact the family guest house we stayed at in Side, Shaxi Village.
On the way up the old silk road, we stopped at a typical market town, SHIZOU
This Li lady chatting to a Bai lady, they love to dress up for market, normally at home, they would not bother. These are cherries that she’s selling, slightly sweet and sour.
By far the best food at the market were these charcoal cooked leavened breads, very light and tasty, some made with minced pork and herbs, another with onion and herbs and another with brown sugar syrup – Yum!
The pony and trap is used as much as the tuk tuk to take the shoppers to and from the market.
It’s evident that the young girls stay behind in their village once they have a family.
We stopped in another Bai town for our driver and guide to have lunch. We were still too full from eating those lovely breads! It was interesting to take a walk up this side street, away from the lorries hauling stones from nearby quarries to make the new road with
Private owners of hillsides can sell off their hill to be quarried for these stones, just like that! There are huge gouges in the landscape all around the area where the expressway is being built!
This typical farmyard, hayloft with stable beneath forms part of the courtyard area.