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Guizhou through a photographer's eye

By Bruce Connolly ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2017-12-01

Guizhou through a photographer's eye

Beauty of Gouba. [Photo by Bruce Connolly/chinadaily.com.cn]

What was life like until recently, before good roads were constructed? Many people would spend their entire lives within the village community. Even a visit to Zunyi, presently under an hour's drive, would have been several days away.

Today in response to tourism, small village craft industries have developed such as decorative paper umbrellas and local foodstuffs. But what helped stimulate visitor numbers was “Red Tourism” -- the heroic Long March passed through Gouba in the mid 1930s. Visitors can learn of the conference held in the village, view the former dormitory of Chairman Mao Zedong or hike along part of the Long March route. Could this someday be transformed into China's first long distance walkway?

Huamao is only a few-minute stroll from Gouba but quite different in appearance, layout and concepts. While Gouba focuses its development more on traditional style and its revolutionary history, Huamao has been rebuilt with modern two-floor buildings incorporating the local style, which provide both a living and a work space for local people. From the main road we followed Jiangxin Street (Jiangxin refers to the “craftsman's spirit), where workshops and commercial outlets were at ground level so visitors could watch and participate in a range of activities including iron working, food processing, pottery, arts and crafts. One sold fiery local spirit wine! Some buildings offered guesthouse facilities providing a rural experience along with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. This again enthralled me as I stopped frequently to absorb and photograph the man-land relationships spread out before me. My eyes also lifted to the surrounding misty hills that simply enhanced the sheer beauty.

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