Traveling With Bob
Last week I was able to spend the day with Robert Lio and his wife Xiao up in Rongshui County. Rongshui is just north of Liuzhou and is a predominantly rural farming area dotted throughout with minority villages. Robert, Xiao and their two youngest kids were making a whirlwind tour of China so we only had the one day together before heading off in different directions. We hired a driver (Xiao’s cousin) and took off with no itinerary or plan of any kind. We decided we would just drive, stop wherever and whenever we wanted and load up some memory cards.
The first place we stopped (below) was a large wide open field at the base of some karst mountains. There were hundreds of people scattered around the paddy fields planting rice. This guy kind of reminded me of a Crane in the water.
We sauntered through without going too deep into the fields, as there was a wide concrete road smack-dab in the middle. It’s a hard life. for these folks. As hard as it is, we were only met with friendly smiles. I found it interesting that not one soul stopped working. On the way out I somehow managed to make yet another Chinese kid cry (number 342) before we climbed back into the car and headed on down the road.
Bamboo Hat & Basket
We went another 20 kilometers or so before coming across a huge open space on our left with the largest collection of paddy fields I have personally seen so far in China. We drove in, getting as close as we could to where the majority the villagers were working and then walked the rest of the way in on foot. I am not sure if I can describe it in a way that does it justice. There were hundreds of folks of all ages in that space planting rice. Everywhere I looked, people in colorful clothing dotted the landscape. I remember thinking it was like a show, a choreographed performance just for Robert and I. Everyone was hard at work with their own unique set of tasks. It had to be nearly all of the local community, it may have been thousands actually, I’m not certain. Just trust me when I say it was a lot of people.
We snaked our way into the paddy, doing our best to avoid the calf deep mud but I soon realized it was a futile effort. With no doubt in my mind that we were going to get wet, I figured what the heck, made the ill-fated first step and plowed on through. The locals were pretty surprised to see us walk into the fields and it was kinda’ funny to see all the double takes. Still, as curious as they were, not one person stopped working.
Bob got some great shots but his cameras took a beating. This particular farmer laughed (very hard) when he realized his water buffalo had splashed Bob. I seem to remember laughing too. A little. Of course getting his camera equipment messed up wasn’t funny but I had to laugh because the farmer found it so amusing! I also realized, even at 51, I still like to play in the mud.
Whatever it Takes
Finally, here’s Bob’s mud-spattered D300 after our foray into the rice paddy. I got away unscathed except for a nice layer of mud covering my Adidas trainers. The look on Xiao’s cousin’s face (the driver) as I pretended I was climbing into his car without taking off my shoes? That was priceless.
It was a good day. We eventually made it to a remote Miao village, only to discover there was (almost) nobody home! I’ll write more about that soon and I have a lot of photos still to post from the day.
I am back in Liuzhou, feeling good, getting stronger and finally getting caught up with everything and most everybody. I’ll be back at school on Wednesday and I hope I’ll soon be into some sort of normal routine again. If I owe you email, trust me, it’s coming soon. I really mean it this time!
I can see my blog is blocked again in China. I didn’t expect that being unblocked was going to last much longer, I’ll soon have the new website up and running. Until next time…
~ by Expatriate Games on April 27, 2009.
Posted in china, documentary, expat, expatriate, life in china, photography, photojournalism, social condition, travel
Tags: china, culture, documentary, expat, expatriate, laowai, life in china, photography, photojournalism, photos