Fuli Farmer's Market and Local Villages

Trip Start Jul 22, 2011
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Trip End Aug 12, 2011


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Where I stayed
What I did
Fuli Farmer's Market
Liu Gong old village
Motorized bamboo rafting downstream Li River
Cormorant fishing show

Flag of China  , Guangxi Zhuang,
Friday, August 5, 2011

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If you look at a globe, Miami Beach and China are almost on opposite sides of the world. So it would follow that our Publix supermarket is very different from a market day at Fuli town that is held on the days of the calendar that end in 2,5 or 8.  The farmers in last night's Great Light Show live close to the light show and many of the young people have found that they can make more money working in the show.  Today at Fuli, we see real farmers bringing their goods to market and buying for themselves.  We see fruits, vegetables, fish to eat or to stock your pond, ducks, chickens, farmer’s tools, the Chinese equivalent of fast food for breakfast, people eating hot foods, spices, snacks, tobacco, bamboo hats & chairs, clothing, jewelry, funeral incense.  It’s a strange feeling to see a cute puppy for sale as a pet for 20 RMB and then a short distance away they are selling dog as meat.  At the Fuli Market, you can get a shave or a haircut.  A tooth can be extracted and replaced in 15 minutes at one of the outside tables.  Or if you are willing to pay more you can go to a dentist in a storefront.  Do you have an ache or pain?  There are traditional medicine practitioners who listen to your concern and recommend just the right herb or concoction for you.   Maybe acupressure with cups will help your knee or back ache?

I comment to Harvey how strange this all is.  He replies, "what is foreign to us is normal to 1.3 billion Chinese.  We are the foreigners.  Didn’t you notice that we are the ones that look different?"  We have found the theme for this trip – “what is normal?”  It really does make us think.

Near the Fuli market is the Old Town that is over 500 years old.  We find the flood marker for the 2008 flood and see 300 year old buildings that survived because they were built above the street.  Old Fuli Town is known for their painted fans.  Each family does a part of the process then the completed fans are shipped to Shanghai and exported.  We visit an artist who does hand painting on silk and sells directly and not for export.

We are learning that the river is like a road to the locals.  Ferries ply the river back and forth between villages and are busy on market day.  We board a private motorized bamboo raft to Liu Gong Village.  We pass a clever way to do fish farming with a pool created with a floating barge and a cabin on top.  Its construction reminds us of ice houses and fishing in the Minneapolis winter.  In Liu Gong Village we walk through the old village where fishermen and farmers have abandoned their homes and then built modern homes around the block.  The young people have a preference for modern housing, so they start from scratch and build new.  At the top of the hill is a Buddhist Temple that is 350 years old and is still being used.  The wall paintings capture my attention – take a look at the photos!   The Temple overlooks the river and the countryside.   It’s a beautiful setting.    Before leaving, we ask Jack to take a photo of us on the bamboo raft, since it occurs to us with all the rafts we’ve been on we don’t have a photo of us on one.  It happens that this one is actually made of pvc pipe and is motorized, so here we are in modern China floating on pvc pipe!   Just to the right of our raft in the water are two water buffalo, 2 children playing in the water and a woman washing clothes.  They are all close enough that I could get them into one photo.  How about that?

For our last evening in Yangshuo, we are scheduled to watch cormorant fishing.  This used to be the primary way of catching fish and incredibly labor intensive.  Now fisherman use nets and there is not much fish for the cormorants to catch.  I really wanted to do this even though I know it’s very touristy.  When everyone was boarding the boat, Jack got us among the first on board and told us to sit in what turned out to be the best seats for viewing.  Here’s another benefit to being with Jack!

Jack and our driver brought us back to the Li River Retreat for our last time.  This sojourn of peaceful exploration was just what we needed.  We thanked Jack for making it possible.

Before going to sleep, we check email and see the US State Department has sent a typhoon and high wind warning for Shanghai.  That’s where we are flying tomorrow morning!

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