When we wondered what to do in Kaili that first afternoon, we decided to visit Matang. When we arrived at the regional bus station, the one to Matang appeared to be almost full and we were on our way at once. A ride that turned out to be much shorter than anticipated took us to a place where we were told to disembark - Matang is not on the main road. It was good to arrive on foot: directly after we left the turn off, we walked into a quiet landscape of rice hills with terraces and houses scattered around the landscape. We met several Gejia people in their costume - especially the women looked beautiful. When we spotted one such woman at a house, she gestured we come over and we felt lucky. She invited us in her house, a simple, dark place to which it took time for our eyes to adjust and see. But before we knew it, she had taken some handwoven clothes and bags, and stones out and took us out to her patio again. Before we knew it, more women flocked to the house - news of two potential customers had apparently traveled fast. Even though the clothes were beautiful and well made, we withstood the temptation and left the disappointed women behind.
We soon reached Matang itself, and at the entrance, were besieged by a small army of women with more of the same traditional items in their hands of the kind we had seen before. They were not too persistent, and after we left them behind, Matang was ours to explore. The village looked dark, perhaps also because of the low clouds in the sky. Fact is, that the houses are big and dark brown, with the tiles on the roof having almost the same colour. The alleys are not straight, and we followed what seemed to be the main one leading us uphill. On a small area outside a house, kids were playing and having fun, and they looked at us with the curious look we had towards them. Once we reached what seemed to be the area for performances, the roofs of the houses of Matang were just below us, and we realized how well it was placed in between the rice fields.
After having some pictures taken with local tourists, we went down again. The woman we had seen weaving one of the typical cloths of this village was still working on her brightly coloured work of art with a focused look. At one point, I decided it was time to explore the backside of a house, and I walked into the courtyard behind a house. Matang itself already was very quiet, but this courtyard was even more peaceful. Several chicken were picking stuff from the floor, and close to one of the wooden walls of a house, I saw an old man doing some laundry by hand. He had a kettle with hot water which he used to add water in a bucket in which a few clothes were waiting to be washed. With steam coming from the bucket, he added some soap, and took to washing the clothes carefully. It was only when I was close to him that he realized I was there, and he reacted with a sympathetic smile. In all its simplicity, this was one of the encounters that added to my positive experience in Matang. When I found my travel companion again, we walked out of the village, looking for a different way back to the main road. From here, we had the best views of the village, which we left behind with smoke coming from their chimneys, getting ready for another night.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Matang Village (China). 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 Matang Village.
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