Day 2 - "storytelling village"
Outside of Dali and close to the rice fields pictured below is a small village known for it's architecture, very large homes with several courtyards. These homes are sadly representative of a time long forgotten, a time of prosperity and elegance ~ for some at least.
The time would be right the period before Mao and The Cultural Revolution.
The owners of this three courtyard home made their money in India. If you look closely at the 2nd and 3rd images you will see the spaces where elegant and possibly imported ceramic paintings had been. These would have all been destroyed along with all other indications of personal wealth*.
The dwelling today is a commune dwell and, though I cant remember exactly, it seems that 7 families live there. The red thermos in the tiny kitchen indicate to me that potable water would have to be carried. I doubt there was any running water. While there were visible broken windows and quite likely the worst imaginable sanitary conditions in the loo ( imagined only from a distance ), the place was swept, there were plants growing, lunch was being prepared and a small family was gathering for the noon meal. One friendly faced elderly man smiled in our direction. These little things helped me consider life in this once exclusive estate a bit more tolerably.
The 6th image above, the Chinese writing, is a remnant of Mao's time, perhaps a quote, perhaps an edict. Some people ( some ethnic group - but I cannot recall which) , while in a significant minority, still hold Mao in high esteem.
* i dont know what became of the original owners of the house during The Cultural Revolution. We stopped by another house and were told " this family was alright because they were related to a farmer".