Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be in the middle of an ethnic minority market in China's Yunnan Province? Even if you haven't, we're going to show you anyway.
360-Degree Panorama: Ethnic Market in Yuanyang, Yunnan
Last night, as we noshed on a dose of dim sum amidst mildly tacky stateside Chinese decor (who knew so many varieties of plastic flowers existed?!), we recalled this market scene from our visit to China. As we gazed around the restaurant, it occurred to us that China is several orders of magnitude more interesting than Chinese restaurants in America might lead you to believe. The scene above serves as just one example that China goes beyond the red lantern and skyscraper narrative.
We took this spherical panoramic photo at the Niujiazhai weekly market near the famous Yuanyang rice fields. As you move inside the image, what do you notice first? The colors of ethnic Hani, Yi and Dai women's clothes, handmade baskets strapped to their backs, or their various styles of headwear?
Or maybe it's the deer-in-the-headlights expression of the two boys who did not know what to make of us as we spun around with our camera?
More Stories on Traveling Independently Through China
As for the rest of China, here's what we saw (forgive us for our use of the word authentic), what we ate (Chinese food in China is such a joy compared to some of the goop served at Chinese restaurants abroad) and the many people we met (China is more diverse than you might imagine) during our three month journey across this rapidly changing country.
And yes, it is possible to travel in China without speaking a lick of Mandarin, see Tibetan culture outside of Tibet proper, survive the pastime of spitting, learn how to pluck the eyebrows off a pig's face, pick up some dating advice from a place aptly named “Friend-making clubhouse at half-past eight” and become fluent in Chinglish and Pandanese.