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Notes on the Geography of China: Kunming and the Road North

Here's a record of what we saw in 1990 when we set out from Kunming to Xhenziong.

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China: Kunming and the Road North picture 1

First, we had a bit of time to wander around Kunming.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 2

The city's markets were already responding to the liberalizing rural economy.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 3

But there were still plenty of people doing the hardest physical labor.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 4

A quantum leap: from manpower to horsepower.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 5

Some women had bound feet; others wore hot-pink.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 6

A modern city was emerging from the body of a traditional one.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 7

On the way north we passed a smelting town.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 8

The work was done in huts like these, smoking like an inferno.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 9

The smelting was done in clay vessals arrayed in ranks like pots on a clay stove. In certain lights, the brew burned green. Zinc? Maybe.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 10

Farther north, potatoes. An interesting crop--and clearly not something of any great antiquity, since potatoes arrived with the Europeans.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 11

Compared to coastal China, Zhenxiong town was remote and poor, but the kids seemed happy.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 12

A few miles north of Zhenxiong, this beautiful valley.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 13

Corn, another American crop. In the background, a cave that swallowed up the water passing through the valley.

China: Kunming and the Road North picture 14

The cave mouth. The passage was some miles long. Local boys said that they had passed through it.


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