Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Yesterday afternoon we had a nice time in the ancietnt Miao Village of Dehang. When we got there, we attended a brief afternoon performance in the ampitheatre.As part of the performance, one of the Miao ladies approached me and offered me a cup of the rice liquor that is part of the Miao culture. It is spoken of as a very strong beverage, but in fact, it was rather mild. Not at all like the rice liquor that is served commercially. This is a much more natural beverage that is made locally by Miao people.

The Xiangxi prefecture in Western Hunan is officially called, "Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture." Coffee's father is Miao, so she is considered Miao even though her mother is Tujia.The capital city of the Xiangxi Prefecture is Coffee's hometown. "Xiang" is the "nickname" for Hunan Province. It is the character that appears on the license plates of cars (every province has a one character Province indicator on the licence plates). "Xi" simply means "west." So Xiangxi is the western Hunan prefecture recognized by the government as the home of the Miao and Tujia in Hunan. The Miao are hard to pin down. I usually think of Guizhou Province as the home of the Miao in China, and there are plenty of them there too. But they are also known as the "Hmong" in Vietnam. The Miao in China had no written language until Samuel Pollard, a missionary with the China Inland Mission came to the Miao area of Guizhou and Yunnan and developed a unique script which is still used today as the only written language of the Miao people.

Last evening, after our hike to the waterfall, we had dinner with the tourism director in the Miao village, along with his wife and little daughter. One thing you will really notice when you travel in this corner of Hunan: there are lots and lots of very interesting and tasty dishes. It seemed like every meal I have been eating something I had never heard of.

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