This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: the World through your eyes.
I wanted to visit Yunnan for a very long time. In April this year, my wish came true. I was hoping to visit a place with lots of ethnic arts and traditions, with women wearing ethnic clothes everywhere. Did I see them? Yes, but they were either dressed up in their own ethnic costumes for the tourists, or simply dressed like any women living in Shanghai or Hangzhou. The tourist guides were all wearing minority costumes, to please the tourists. Tourism is very important as revenue to Yunnan.
In Lijiang old town, do you know what is the most significant feature? Nice western cafe with modern decor! Did I like them? Of course, because I am a cafe person! I want to stay longer in the old town, but unfortunately our schedule was too tight.
In my previous posts on my Yunnan trip #16, I did describe the Naxi Minority in Yunnan. But I did not highlight the changes. There are evidences of modernization everywhere, including Yunnan, which is not advanced as Shanghai or Hangzhou in terms of infrastructure etc. On this post, I would like to show you how we can see the changing world through the ways that women dressed in Yunnan. Like many parts of China, Yunnan is undergoing changes and is very much modernized than most of us think.
It is interesting that I saw a documentary about Naxi women being interviewed by the Western media. The women said they would retain all their traditional traditions in order to continue feeding the curiosity of tourists, as tourism supports Yunnan’s economy. I was one of those tourists. Was I disappointed? Not exactly. This is how we learn about cultural and social changes. We should accept what we see and experience with an open mind.
I did not take a lot of pictures with women wearing modern western outfits, because I respected their privacy. In fact one of the tourist guides was wearing beautiful ethnic outfits, but she was wearing the most fashionable boots in Western style. We overseas Chinese tourists were in fact very behind!