When we arrived in Kaili, our main objective was to see some of the minority people in this region. We had already decided not to rent a car with driver for our entire stay, and wondered how we would manage to find the minorities. We met a helpful guy at an information centre, who helped us out. Not only by speaking English, but also because he had a schedule for all markets of the region. It turned out that one of our options for the next day was Gedong, a town further east from Kaili. Later that evening, we realized that we would be better off organizing our own transportation as we also wanted to visit other places the following day, and we arranged for a car with driver.
The next morning, at the exact time we had agreed on, a car stopped in front of our hotel, and we were on our way to the east. The scenery alone was worth our trip, and we stopped at several places on the way. On one occasion, we found a small village built against a hillside, and explored it. On one side, we found a group of the haystacks typical of the region, where loads of hay are stacked against thin trees. Next to most houses, we found sties, mostly with pigs in them. The villagers seemed very friendly to the intruders, and we would have liked to stay longer - but we were on our way to Gedong, and had to leave the village behind. We now had a romantic idea of local villages, but Gedong turned out to be yet another modern Chinese town. It was impossible to miss the market, and we soon realized that while the setting was not as traditional as we had expected, the market itself was probably the same it had been for a long time.
Vendors from the region gathered here with their wares, selling anything from vegetables to plastic hairdryers "Made in China", and from rice to dog heads. Some of the women were dressed up in traditional clothes, giving them an exotic look. Especially older women appeared to have big holes in their ears, and I wondered if that was just a matter of beauty, or the result of a life-long wearing of earrings. I came across groups of Miao women going shopping together, but also girls in modern clothes. At one stall, I saw a Miao woman dressed up in her traditional clothes, taking off her beautiful Miao shoes to try a pair of walking shoes. The atmosphere was peaceful, and at one moment I realized I did not hear any shouting or yelling in an effort to sell something. From the far side of the market, we noticed the old part of town - Gedong had been a traditional village once! While the market was still in full swing, we had to say goodbye to it, as we were on our way to exploring more of the region. When we drove away, we were happy with our visit to the market and its colourful vendors and visitors. It had been as lively as we had hoped for.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Gedong market (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Gedong market.
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