|Hei Jing, Yunnan, China
|Week 11 4th - 5th July 2011
| On the way out of the gorge we settled the question that
had caused us so much grief!
Which rock did the tiger use to leap across the gorge.
Was it in the upper, middle, or lower, gorge? Or all three?
Fortunately someone had planted a concrete tiger at the precise spot which settled our family argument forever.
| The road had been described as "good".
Fortunate as we had a long way to travel (523 km).
Unfortunately we met some road works.
Bumpy, muddy, traffic bound, road works.
And further on about 20 km of single lane expressway behind a slow truck.
Which meant our drive was about 12 hours including breaks.
| We met some more local ladies in one of the small towns.
Sometimes bicycles are the norm. Sometimes motorbikes. Sometimes bongo vans with windows and seats.
| We did meet a convoy of trucks carrying sets of blades for
The blades weigh about 300 kg each. Just awkward.
We counted about 20 trucks. Each with 3 blades.
A small contrast with Aus when we met similar. The Aus blades were inside a jig on the back of a truck, 2 blades per truck, and 3 trucks.
|Couldn't help but be concerned at the occ health and safety implications of this little exercise.
| But finally we made it to Hei Jing.
Salt is one of those things that is essential to life. Those that have it thrive. Hei Jing had lots of salt so thrived for a very long time.
At one time it paid more than half the tax collected on salt in Yunnan.
Taxing salt is quite clever from a government perspective. Everyone needs salt. A tax on salt is thus like a poll tax.
| This archway (alleyway) was dedicated to:-
"De Zheng Fang was dedicated to the hope that the Emperor would administrate benevolent rules after taxes had been collected."
There is no indication as to whether he died happy.
But we thought perhaps a very "Chinese" approach to life.
| The town was full of alleys.
Mostly deserted until later in the day.
| When we arrived we first thought we would stay at the car
park outside the main entrance.
On advice from some locals we ventured further into town.
Roads were getting a bit tight for us and the bridge looked a bit light.
So we turned around.
In doing so we broke a couple of posts. This is the crime scene the next morning.
We did speak to a couple of the locals at the time and were apologetic. Given our state of tiredness after the long day's drive we thought it prudent to retreat to the car park as a crowd began to gather.
| The town from the bridge.
The factory under the chimney was derelict.
| It was salt wells rather than salt mines.
Dug into the base of the sandstone cliffs.
This is a model at the entrance to the first well to be discovered and developed. Miners carrying buckets of brine from the well.
Sunshine then coal fires were used to evaporate the water to leave the salt.
|One of 57 temples in what looks like a very small town
(village to me).
This one is dedicated to local deities but most major non-Christian religions were represented in the town.
We also noticed some Muslim restaurants.
Chinese railways are like railways anywhere. Its the main Chengdu Kunming
This is a double header mixed goods (mostly coal trucks and petrol tankers. No guard's van.
Single line with passenger and goods in both directions.
The line is electric, rebuilt about 2003 according to the stamp on the rails. Very heavy welded rails.
| We went for a walk up the hillside.
Warm and sticky.
Most of the hillside is covered with tombs.
Apparently for monks not salt miners.
|Another double header.
All the locos we saw were the same. Apart from the number.
No sort of life at all for a train spotter.
|Inside the Wu family compound.
Fascinating place with more than 100 rooms on three levels.
It has been turned into a hotel which makes it a little incompatible with sightseeing tourists.
| These are bathtubs carved from a block of sandstone.
I don't think they were intended for use by the hotel guests.
|Outside the entrance was guarded by a couple of stone
The ball in the mouth has been carved in-situ and will roll around.
Lesser carvings, not so much detail and the ball is fixed, are also around the streets.
| The inside of a salt works.
A couple of fires and a couple of rows of salt pots.
This is the last step in the process where the remaining water is driven off to leave salt.
|The close up of the slat pots that everyone has been anxious to see.
|Outside the salt solution is first sprayed over this
Large surface area catches the sun to evaporate water.
Its then through a succession of ponds to evaporate more. Then to the salt pots.
|The salt works was a couple of km out of town.
We let the horses do the work.
It wasn't just tourists using the horse carts. Locals in nearby villages were using them.
|We bought some confectionary.
Most places sell cakes by the each. This gentleman weighed them.
|Yuanmou Man, Yunnan, China
|Week 11 6th July 2011
|Sun, 10 Jul 11 21:57:22 +1000
|You certainly get to see everything in detail - even inspected the dates stamped on the railway lines! Incredible. But keep up the fascinating insight - you certainly have an enviable knack of getting under the surface of the places you visit, unlike many tourists.