Travel to China: Kunming and the Road North
Back around 1990, several people who knew what they were doing set out from Kunming for the day-long drive north to Zhenxiong. (For what they saw there, see the Hengdi chapter.) They were accompanied by one person who did not know what he was doing but who did have a camera. For a journal-record of what he saw, see "Temples of Heaven," parts one and two .
He spent a day wandering around Kunming.
The city's markets were already responding to the liberalizing rural economy.
But there were still plenty of people doing the hardest physical labor.
A quantum leap: from manpower to horsepower.
Some women had bound feet; others wore hot-pink.
A modern city was cracking out of the body of a traditional one.
The way north was agricultural but with surprises, like this smelting town.
The work was done in huts like these, smoking like an inferno.
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.
Farther north, potatoes. An interesting crop--and clearly not something of any great antiquity, since potatoes arrived with the Europeans.
Compared to coastal China, Zhenxiong town is remote and poor, but the kids seem happy.
A few miles north of Zhenxiong, this beautiful valley.
Corn, another American crop. In the background, a cave that swallowed up the water passing through the valley.
The cave mouth. The passage was some miles long. Local boys said that they had passed through it.
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