The clouds of his mind~ Yunnan

the clouds of his mind~ Yunnan

the clouds of his mind~ Yunnan

Men puffing out tobacco smoke has become such a common daily sight for us living in China, people smoke in the rain, on bikes, while working, in classrooms, and sometimes even while eating! Yunnan was no different. The ladies smoked their pipes leisurely while the men smoked cigarettes and water pipes. The tobacco fields can be seen spread out for miles around the valleys and mountainous regions of Yunnan and the smoking traditions thrives.

This man was sitting in a small one room restaurant in a marketplace and he enjoyed his tobacco while I photographed him feeling almost proud and theatrically demonstrating his skill at exhaling the clouds above his head.

stories of times gone by~ Yi woman~ Yunnan

stories of times gone by~ Yunnan~ Yi woman

stories of times gone by~ Yunnan~ Yi woman

It is such a common sight in Yunnan to see these strong women from the Yi ethnic minority with pipes lit in their mouths puffing at tobacco smoke around the streets, markets and village homes. The pipes are hand crafted and each woman holds on to hers for life proudly. When I asked about the place where we can buy one, I constantly received puzzled looks, “you don’t buy these, you get one made for you when you come of age”!

Day 30~ October 30th~ Yunnan

from the West to the East~ the gift of smoke

Since the 7th century in China, Opium was ingested for medicinal purposes and never smoked. Then in the 17th centurycame the Europeans and introduced the mixing of opium with tobacco to be smoked making it the most addictive practice among the Chinese. This led to the two famous opium wars and after several attempts from the Chinese to ban the import of opium, attacks on the shores of China by the British and eventually several treaties that according to historical accounts marked the beginning of the century of humiliation of this Asian nation.

Today, everywhere you look, people, young and old are smoking tobacco on the streets of China.