Panorama of the Week: Guizhou, China — Weekly Indigenous Market

While Guizhou Province may not feature the same dramatic bits of nature you’d find in Yunnan or Sichuan Provinces, it does have its share of indigenous markets. And that’s why, when we visited China, we based ourselves in the the provincial capital of Kaili for a week.

In the weekly market in Chong’an, an area inhabited by ethnic Miao and Gejia, a high school girl befriended us early in the day. She’d studied some English and had a nifty electronic Chinese-English dictionary to fall back on when her school-learned vocabulary wasn’t enough. For an afternoon, she showed us all the various nooks and crannies of the market – embroidered cloth for local ethnic dress, vegetables and fruit galore, Chinese medicine practice and street dentistry, gelatinous noodle soup stands, and lots and lots of meat.

360-Degree Panorama: Weekly Market in Chong’an – Guizhou Province, China

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If you open up the panorama and look closely, you’ll notice a couple of dogs carcasses on the ground in addition to all the other piles of chopped meat. Our impromptu tour guide informed us that dog is in fact consumed on special occasions.

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  1. Bluegreen Kirk says

    As usual another great panorama. I didn’t see the dog carcasses though. Do they just find stray dogs or rise them to be eaten?

  2. says

    @Sutapa: Good memory! The photo of the testicles (we think they were from cows) was at a market in Guizhou province, but it was at a different village called Gedong. Quite intense – but good – market experiences in Guizhou.

    @Yusuf: We also thought that Guizhou was quite scenic – really enjoyed our time there.

    @Kirk: If you look behind (to the left) of the couple sitting on the ground with the umbrella you’ll see some smoked, skinned dog carcases on the ground. The English level of the girl we were with was not great, but she said that the dogs were not raised especially for eating. However, all the dog carcases we saw in the region seemed to be of the same/similar build and breed so it makes me wonder.

  3. Sutapa Chattopadhyay says

    Oh thank God. I thought people ate dog testicles too. Although cow testicles is also revolting..but who knows? Maybe they taste good?

  4. says

    @Sutapa: Good taste is in the palate of the beholder. Hard to imagine sometimes, but for everything that is eaten, there must be at least a few people who enjoy it.

  5. says

    Dan and Audrey, what an interesting view of a market in Guizhou! I never made it there (yet), but I have had Guizhou-style food. Some of the hottest I ever ate! Make Hunan seem quite mild.

    I still don’t know how you make these great panorama shots. Keep posting them! They’re wonderful…

  6. says

    @Mitch: Guizhou province was a really fascinating place, not only for the abundance of indigenous markets (different market, group almost every day), but also because it was changing so quickly. The Chinese government had tagged this region as one of the poorest, so it was investing tons of money in infrastructure and building projects. Villages were getting rebuilt into apartment buildings in months. Really incredible, but perhaps not necessarily all for the best as “modernization” will definitely change customs and cultures of indigenous groups. But, that’s an issue everywhere…

    As for the panoramas, they are made from using an 8mm lens to take 4-5 photos in a circle and then some specialized software to stitch them together and make the flash “tour” that you see here. Glad you enjoy them!

  7. says

    Audrey, Thanks for the prompt reply! Yes, it’s an issue in China, this upsetting of the cultural histories to modernize. I saw it everywhere I went, even to places like Hong Kong, Xiamen and Shanghai region. No easy answers.

    I remember a visit to Shenzhen, must have been about 2005, when I saw a large plot of land, about 12 city blocks, being worked on. Big foundations. Dirt work. I came back by 3+ months later, and there were 8 tall apartment buildings, occupied, each about 45 stories, with nice streets and parklike walking areas around. Not even 4 months! Amazing. (I hope they were well built.)

    I’m off to get me a super-wide angle lens for the Canon. I got the tripod. I think I can get the stitching software that’ll work. I gotta start making these panos!

  8. says

    @Mitch: I’m not surprised that it only took 4 months to build a whole city area. We were in Beijing before the 2008 Olympics and the speed at which buildings were coming down and going up was mind-blowing. Unfortunately, not all the places were very well built…which may just be an excuse to tear down and rebuild in a few years time.

    One city that will be changed forever through this style of “development” is Kashgar – the ancient Silk Road city will mostly be destroyed in the name of safety for new apartment buildings. In turn, the community and courtyard style of traditional living will go away, likely changing the Uighur culture in future generations. As you said, no easy answers.

    Good luck with the wide angle lens! The stitching and flash software we use is AutoPano Giga & Tour. There might be other ones out there now, but we’ve been using this for years.

  9. says

    Audrey, one more note and then I’ll shut up. (Don’t bet that way, tho. Teehee!) Thanks for the info on the software; I’ll look there too. On the Uighur region, China’s government isn’t too happy with them right now; this may be a political outcome as much as a modernization. Sadly, lots of people in history have had their culture squashed by similar means.

    I haven’t a clue how well-built the stuff I’ve seen in Shenzhen (and other fast-growing China areas) really is. I bet it’s all over the place, actually. Some of the new highways are awesome, some are coming apart after only a few years; as one example. So much variation in materials, skills, oversight! One upside: Lots of jobs for the future. China still needs jobs. Sadly, it’ll take infrastructure failures (and likely deaths) to signal it’s time to rebuild.

    Stay safe! Write when you can, send money when you can’t…

  10. says

    @Mitch: Oh yes, I believe the “safety” issues behind the building in Kashgar are very much related to politics more than the fault line. We were lucky to see Kashgar before some of the massive changes and even then, you could still see how the culture was getting squeezed out through massive movement of Han Chinese to the area. So many indigenous areas in China are facing similar issues.

    It will be interesting to see how the highways, trains and building infrastructure survives in the next decade. I think some is really well built, while corners were cut in other areas – think of the Sichuan earthquake and how some of the government built schools collapsed. Keeping up with the demand for jobs will also be tough.

    Really nice to chat about China and these issues with you!

  11. says

    @Mitch:  Thanks for the link. I had heard about the recent violence in Xinjiang and wondered what would happen next in Kashgar. The razing of the old town is so sad on many fronts. But it’s a similar story being played out throughout the country.

    Dan’s accepted his 40-ness pretty well.  It’s all part of the package called life.

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