Dave's Sketch Journal

Drawing is taking a line for a walk. - Paul Klee

Baisha and the Naxi Customs

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The Black Dragon Pool near the college was a welcome park in the middle of the busy city of Lijiang. We walked a bit and took a few pictures.

Then Eric Yang took us to Baisha village. This is the same Eric Yang that hosted our English class in his cafe at the Lijiang college. Eric was great. He runs a Professional Guide service for foreigners. In exchange for the teaching we did in the college, he offered to tour us around Baisha village.

The village had all the same items we could find for sale in Gucheng (old town) but cheaper. What is most interesting about the village and the Naxi people who live in it, is that they are a matriarchal society. The woman do the housework, shopping, planting, feeding of the livestock, and teaching of the children. The men sit around and play cards and mahjong. If we do move to China, I'm going to consider living here.

We found some very cool chairs made of tree bark. The store owner invited us it to sit and take a few pictures. They were surprisingly comfortable.

There is a famous Dr. Ho here. He's 85 and still going strong. He prescribes herbs for anything that ails you. Many claim that he has saved their lives. BBC, ABC, and Michael Palin all have done specials about him. He's world famous as he'll gladly tell you so. He's quite a talker and I felt a bit held captive as several of us sat around and heard him tell us how famous he was. He handed out leaflets and letters from various famous people commending him for his work. He speaks English well enough to use words like "famous" and "great man" and "man of mystery."

Anyway Ruth disappeared into a side room with him and in five minutes he prescribed some tea and other herbs for external use. He wraps the power up in square paper and seals them with tape. Finally, he uses a traditional brush and Chinese ink to write the directions on the outside of the packet. Then he uses a special stamp on a paper to help get us through customs. He doesn't charge anything. You give him whatever you want.

We hadn't heard about this village until we met Eric. It was fantastic to have him guide us. We learned so much more. We asked questions about culture, background, living conditions, and viewpoints. Eric's English is excellent. If you do visit Lijiang but don't speak Chinese, I highly recommend him. You can fine him just outside the water wheels of the old town. Or you can reach him using his email: ericLiJiang@163.com or Phone: 131.7078.9953.)

We ended the day at our favorite restaurant, The Bistro Well. We ate pizza and beer and watched the sun leave the town. The eves provided a warm glow of their own light against the darkening blue sky.

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. - James Michener

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