Friday, December 28, 2012
This village was just a few miles from the Vietnamese border inside China. Getting there involved buses up and down spectacular mountains, whose lower slopes were covered with banana trees or rice terraces, and winding through villages of several different minorities. The people in this village belonged to a minority within a minority, a non-Buddhist subgroup of the Dai. (The Dai are closely related to Thais, especially northern Thais. Some of them used a strange old written language with hundreds of letters, that I tried to learn.) You might round a corner in this village and find a little water mill, or a girl with a flower in her hair. Hot water ran out of the ground and into a large bathing pool just around the corner. I'm afraid to think how this little bit of Shang La has changed since.