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Notes on the Geography of China: Hani Terraces 3: the Urban Context

Give the county a new airport, and the outlook for the terraces is grim. Who will maintain them when better-paying and easier jobs can be found?

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China: Hani Terraces 3: the Urban Context picture 1

A traditional village? Socially, perhaps; physically, not a chance.

China: Hani Terraces 3: the Urban Context picture 2

See anything indigenous?

China: Hani Terraces 3: the Urban Context picture 3

An entirely new town Shengcun, has been created as a government center. It's smack within the UNESCO area. Bravo! Ever read Chinese Shadows, by Simon Leys? He went after Mao, the landscape barbarian. Both Leys (a pseudonym) and Mao are dead, but the barbarism carries on.

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A new building for government employees.

China: Hani Terraces 3: the Urban Context picture 5

The regional market meets here every five days or so. It's a lot more authentic than the buildings around it.

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Duck soup, anyone?

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Lots of citrus, not to mention star fruit.

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You'll live forever if you eat your greens.

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The pig's not as happy as she looks. At this size, she'll sell for about $100.

China: Hani Terraces 3: the Urban Context picture 10

Balking.

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Well and truly immobilized. She can roll a bit, and she'll make noise for a minute, then quiet down.

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A year later, she'll be back.

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The blue scarf is typical Hani.

China: Hani Terraces 3: the Urban Context picture 14

Want one?

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Hoes, sickles, axes, knives, saws.

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Here's Xinjie, the old county seat, way up on the same level as the Hani villages. It's ghostly not only because of the fog but because the authorities a decade ago moved the county seat down to the banks of the Red River, a much hotter but much more accessible location. Most of Xinjie's residents moved down there, though they still come up here from time to time, especially in the heat of summer.

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Supermarket on main street.

China: Hani Terraces 3: the Urban Context picture 18

You wonder where people in the villages buy their TVs? Wonder no more. The radiant heaters help in the damp winters but are expensive to run.

China: Hani Terraces 3: the Urban Context picture 19

How much town can you build in 10 years? If you're Chinese, the answer is lots and lots. Here's the new county seat, Nansha. Notice the sign speaking to tourists. The "golf carts" replace taxis in town.

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It's so you don't fall asleep.

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Here we aim to demonstrate our eco-fides.

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The tourists have probably arrived over Asian Highway 14, which runs from Haiphong to Kunming and continues west to Mandalay.

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Once you get off that highway, the most striking thing is this mosque.

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Maybe it's not the Taj Mahal, but did you expect a large Muslim population this far south in China?

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Can't be Friday.

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And just in case you had any illusions about Kunming, the metropolis.


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