19 October 2009

Class Trip, Pt. 1

I am so glad that I brought my laptop with me on this trip. It’s pretty much like I thought it would be - a fairly heavy responsibility - literally - but much more convenient than trying to write lists, my class journal, and these blogs by hand - or, worse, waiting to do them and forgetting details or not writing them at all. That said, Internet is, as I had expected, sporadic, and I’m hardly in a hotel to use it, anyway. Thus, though I’m writing this blog right now, Monday morning, I realize that it probably will not be posted for a few more days, at least.

Our trip thus far has been, I think, much more interesting to me than the first national tour that we took as a class. It’s been a totally different feel, not only because we are with Dr. Kaup and Xu Laoshi rather than Zhang Laoshi and Dr. Khandke but because, rather than seeing main tourist attractions and some of the most important parts of China’s history, we are seeing an often forgotten and much lesser known area and some of the most impoverished and unique areas of the country. Last year, one of my favorite parts of the trip was going to Yunnan province, which is an area heavily populated with minorities. I liked it there because of the different feel - different visually in the appearances of people, clothes, and buildings, and also different because it was a part of China that Americans don’t learn about in the history books. Now, in Guizhou, we have seen four different Miao minority villages, and they have all charmed me. I am fascinated by the issues with minority policy, land distribution, and wealth gaps, and that I can see these carried out in real life is, I realize, an opportunity that most people do not have.

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