Edie with Yi dancers
As Lesley and Freda freeze in frigid Beijing, Edie and I were suffering today in Simao's coldest weather for months (18 degrees C max!). Unfortunately the grey skies and breezy conditions coincided with the opening of the 2nd Yunnan Nationality Costume and Accessories Festival in downtown Simao. We went along for a gander. There was a lot of "minzu" action, and of course we (or rather Edie) provided plenty of photo opportunities for the locals. It didn't feel so bad getting the camera out and shooting back!

Hani woman
We watched Hani women sewing embroidery and Hani men doing something with cotton. There was a lot of weaving and spinning going on, and the hard sell was on for loads of colourful ethnic bags, clothing, jewellery and tea products (we came away with some Aini (Akha, Xishuangbanna Hani) stuff - a shoulder bag, chopstick pouch and a free necklace for Edie). Minority culture is big business in Yunnan, and the local government stenuously supports the local minority groups developing a tourist industry. This is mostly for the domestic market -most Han generally find these exotic border peoples fascinatingly backward, unaccountably dirty and even slightly scary (esp. Tibetans!). Places like Lijiang and Jinghong have, in the last few years, turned into incredibly tacky, inauthentic theme parks. But it certainly brings the money into otherwise economically disadvantaged areas.

Aini girl
Yao spinners
18/11/2009 12:04:57 am

What fantastic colours!


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