Saturday June 7, 2008 (backdated entry) – Hilarious miscommunications in Dazhai

Up at 3:30 AM for our 4 AM departure up to lookout #1 with the group from dinner, and the female tout (mom) from the guesthouse. Tiring but totally worth the climb. The view and photos we got were spectacular and exceeded my expectations.

Sunrise at Lookout #1

The man (dad) of the farmer’s house at the top was still in his PJ’s, lounging around while a circus of amateur photographers with expensive camera set up tripods like a fortress. He was funny to watch – he kind of had a thoughtful look on his face. Then he took out the money from his fanny pack and counted it (money made by selling cold drinks and bowls of noodles). I wonder what he was thinking – maybe about all the money he was making while still in his PJ’s? The grandma, dressed in traditional Yao clothing, and grandpa, were watching a documentary on TV about the Longji Rice Terraces, broadcast in heavily accented English. I thought it was hilarious how they were watching a documentary about themselves!

After, we hiked to Lookout #2 and then tried to find our way back to the guesthouse. We walked all the way down to the base of the village, where one old Yao woman yelled out “Hello!” to try to get us to go to her restaurant. Continued walking, when a young woman in traditional Yao clothing ran up to us and tried to tell us something. At first we tried to shrug her off, until I looked at her face and thought, “Hey, she looks like the woman from the guesthouse… Maybe it’s her?” She opened her jacket revealing her clothes underneath, and took out an earring, trying to convey, “it’s me! Under this clothing!” Nolan STILL didn’t recognize her! And looked confused as to why she was stripping and trying to sell us her earring. Comic misunderstanding was put to rest when I told him it was her. We still didn’t understand what she was trying to tell us though.

Back at the guesthouse, took a nap and lazed about. The grandma seems to know the most English out of anyone at the guesthouse, knowing numbers 1, 2, 3, Hello, and How much-y? She tried to sell me all sorts of stuff, and attempted to “teach” the granddaughter how to sell as well… She instructed her to bring the little hand embroidered cell phone cases to me and ask, “How much-y?” Pretty cute. She said for 5Y we could take photos of her combing out her long hair.

After that, Nolan took a photo of me dressed in Yao clothing, with the grandma, super long hair done up in Yao style, and the granddaughter standing in the background. (A really nice photo – I’ll post it up later. I just love the hot pink Yao embroidered jackets.) I showed the little girl the photo of herself, and she didn’t look too happy, pulling on the little ponytail on the top of her head.

We definitely escaped the backpacker crowd as Dazhai is mainly touristed by Chinese tourists, and hardly any English spoken, besides from some of the Chinese tourists. Nolan found it a bit disconcerting that it was so difficult to convey simple requests (like for cold water), but it didn’t faze me at all. Maybe because I’m used to not knowing what’s going on, especially when my relatives speak Chinese to me?

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