On the way to Dayangjie, the central home of the Yiche people, a branch of the Hani ethnic minority that settled in Yunnan about 1000 years ago, we met this child and grandparent. The Yiche people wear conical hats in black and in white and are known to have some of the stranger customs among the Hani people. The ‘lihhahha’ or marriages in their language of the Yiche people are arranged by their parents when they are very young, when the bride-price is paid. After the marriage the husband and wife don’t live together, but with their own parents. The wife, however, must visit her husband every twelve days until giving birth. During this period of lihhahha the wife has the freedom to have sexual intercourse with any man she likes. This custom proves that there is so much more to learn about the people of the world and the way their lives are arranged and why. The more I see of this world, the less room I have for pre-judgment and the wider my mind must be opened.
Traveling the world makes you less and less surprised by odd customs, but I was first surprised to see water sold in plastic bags in Congo, and again various drinks packaged the same way in Philippines. It seems very practical to drink from the bottom of a plastic bag and much easier for shopkeepers that don’t want to risk losing unreturned bottles 🙂
After being on an intense journey such as this to one to Xinjiang, the return to the big city is a bit of a shock. When I look back at my over 2 thousand photographs from this trip, it really feels like months were packed into less than a week. To have met Uighurs, Tajiks, Kazakhs, seen their old cities, homes, markets, traditions, to have eaten their food, danced with them, traveled their long roads, sat in their round tents, drank their yak milk, looked into their beautiful eyes, enjoyed their enormous hospitality, puzzled at their secret codes and customs… to have done all that and more and then go back to normal life is a bit of a jolt.
There will be a lot of sharing of their wonderful world in images in the next few days and lots of little stories to tell.
Today’s photo: a composite of sunset from the plane window as we approach Shanghai and bokeh of city lights on the drive home.