Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Time I Discovered...A Place Where Time Stood Still

Written for World Nomads

I was not sorry for staring intensely at the wrinkles folded around her gleaming eyes. What is it like to have peepers that have captured one hundred years of images? It is not every day that I come across a 100-year-old human being. Her visage was worth inspecting even at a price of being perceived as rude. The flesh on her face receded over the years, reducing her looks to nearly a skull wrapped in well preserved skin. Her face broke into a million lines when she smiled. She was a native who never left Taoping Qiang Village- a place that managed to stand against currents of modernization.
The 100-year-old native
I smiled back and gestured if I could enter a room. She mumbled in her native language which I assumed was green light for me to go ahead. The lower-than-normal door made me hunch before I arrived in a dim space with musty smell. I looked up and for a moment, thought that I would never make it out of the room alive! It was a whole carcass of a yak hanging from the ceiling, mouldy and unnerving. I then realized I was in a medieval freezer. The villagers still used air drying in place of refrigeration.  Their way of life remained the same as it was 1000 years ago.
Drid yak meat
Although there was no need to, I walked stealthily around the room. I touched the very walls that protected the people from wars and earthquakes for 56 generations. The walls were still burning with the same spirit it had a millennium ago but it felt cool. Fresh water from the mountains channelled through the house underground and flushed heat way. As if apologizing for the initial scare, the ancestors decided to impress with their intelligence of creating bill-free air conditioning. It is funny that everything was managed to be inherited in this village except the technique of building their houses. What a waste of a precious tremor-proof solution that could even put some modern construction to shame.

Taoping Qiang Village building structures were unintentionally built to withstand earthquakes
Narrow passageways
The kitchen 1000 years ago was pretty much how it is today
It is pretty bizarre to me that this part of China was stubbornly unconsumed by urbanization albeit being just next to a highway. Coming from a fast-paced life, it was an eye-opener that time stood still in Taoping Qiang Village. I am glad to have travelled 1907 miles away from my wi-fi radiated home to discover how people lived in the past and more amazingly how irrelevant the things we modern people chase are to the dwellers whom have never left their village.
Unconsumed by urbanization although next to a highway
Backdropped by pristine landscapes
Animism portrayed in the marble statue that is believed to protect homes 
Corn dried as animal fodder
Olden locks are still used
The goat is worshiped as provider of life
What used to be stairs
Thanks for being a little lenient on me
Traditional costume
Handicrafts made by villagers
Panoramic view of Taoping Qiang Village in Sichuan Province