Saturday, 4 June 2011

Dehang Day 3 (14th of September)

Despite the Lonely Planet dismissing the cultural performance in the village’s outdoor arena we thought we really should go and see it while we were here. We’d gathered from the noisy music we’d heard on previous days that it must start at 10.00 a.m. with a later performance around 3.00 p.m. There was only a local lady with her small child waiting, but a swarm of Chinese tourists soon joined us. It was interesting, although at times painful to watch due to the lack of organisation and synchronisation, leading me to think I was watching a performance by a pack of Brownies. We hadn’t seen many teenagers around the village, but it seemed we had found them, perhaps pressurised into carrying out the performance. The older ladies looked more professional and in time with each other. The show is apparently a demonstration of a wedding ceremony. There was a lot of dancing, drum banging, dancing while drum banging, a procession and a bit of audience participation (luckily we had seats in the middle).

Planning a lazy day we went exploring up the narrow alleys, but then spotted a man leading his water buffalo up a valley we had not yet been to. The apparent promise of 'waterfalls in large number’ and a cave ‘famous in both China and abroad’ was too good to resist and we set off along the paved path. Not a lot of rice growing or harvesting was happening in this gorge, possibly because it was quite shady. As we progressed the rice stopped and there were just a lot of weeds growing on what terraces there were. The man with his buffalo was stripping the bark off lengths of bamboo and seemed very happy to see us. This path seems to be very neglected and the weeds are fast encroaching upon it, while the stepping stones over the river have fallen apart which makes getting across a bit of a trial at times. We almost turned back, but were glad we persevered as we happened upon a lot of movement in the trees. There were quite a lot of wild monkeys, but not being dependent on humans, like those of Wulingyuan, they were far away and hard to spot. We did find the waterfalls minus the water, but gave up on the cave hunt since even the path was hard enough to find.

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