Categories: ChinaPhotography

A Little Photo Essay … 15 Favorites from Rural China

China was a country that challenged me as a traveler, there were food issues, language barriers and physical limitations because the country is huge. China is a seriously large country with lyrically pretty cityscapes and landscapes; from the wide multi-lane highways of impersonal Beijing to the sparkle of Shanghai, as is often the case, it’s the countryside that compelled me the most. Let’s take a photo-stroll through rural China, the China made up of weekly small-town markets and rural rice paddies rolling with flowing fields of  rich yellow flowers and imposing karst rocks.

Bicycling the small gravel paths through the outskirts and rural regions around Yangshuo, China the prettily flowing fields of flowers set under the towering karst limestone rocks created a post-card perfect landscape.

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This little boy eyed our trio of foreigners on bikes with clear suspicion as we lazily made our way through the rice paddies near his home. Although our guide asked him some question he remained closed-lipped and cautious until we pedaled by him in the outskirts of Yangshuo, China.

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Although the full story is saved for another time, these men were highly entertained by our friendly and playful interactions as we bicycled the rice paddies and karst rocks of rural Yangshuo, China.

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Green fields and long stretches of rice paddies were topped with a wet hazy mist shrouding the karst, limestone rocks on our long bike ride through the rural regions around Yangshuo, China.

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The most interesting contraption of a truck I’ve yet encountered around the world, these rural farm workers yielded as we biked past with interest and curiosity about such intriguing transportation! Yangshuo, China.

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During the off-season for rice production, the rice paddies are filled with blooming flowers to better offset the towering rounded bumps of karst rocks as workers continue working their fields and prepping for the rice planting season in the rural regions outside of Yangshuo, China.

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A group of women work together on the other end of this channel to keep the irrigation system intact as water is moved through the stone channel to the surrounding crops and rural rice paddies outside Yangshuo, China.

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An empty and aging cart sits, unused and decaying, on the quite stone streets of the Xingping Fishing Village that lies on the east bank of the Li River and stands out as a remarkable tiny town filled with Ming and Qing Dynasty structures nearly untouched by time and modern tourism, a rarity in touristy areas of China. 

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Locals pick through the snails and select the tastiest at the Fuli Market near Yangshuo, China.

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Baskets of cotton sit in the home of a resident of the Xingping Fishing Village, in China. The cotton is already collected and the next step removes the seeds before turning it into any clothes, pillows, and various products.

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A handmade bowl of vegetarian Chinese dumplings steam and cook in our hostel kitchen after an impromptu cooking class teaches me how to shape and make dumplings.

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Simple hanging scales are a fast and quick way for the merchants at the weekly Fuli market outside of Yangshuo, China to take care of the bustling business as locals select carrots and other fresh vegetables for purchase.

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The open curiosity of this  little one was a relief from the normal cringes and suspicion of children unaccustomed to sightings of pale-eyed and tall westerners also wandering the streets of the weekly market in Fuli, China.

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The wet air and light drizzle of rain did nothing to detract the locals from coming out to the weekly Fuli market for their supply of fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and fish in a town motorbike distance from Yangshuo, China.

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A Chinese woman prepares steaming hot food for the locals and rare tourists to munch on as they wander the narrow aisles of the weekly street market in Fuli, China, shopping for anything from woven field hats to live fish, from squawking chickens to an array of fresh vegetables, beans, candies, and unidentifiable food-stuffs.

The pace of life in small rural towns slows down, it’s easier to look at the lines etched on the faces of each street vendor and fill in their life story. The toddler playing close to the the old woman selling vegetables is her grandson, pride and joy emanates from her patient eyes. The  end of the day exhaustion haunts the eyes of the farm worker as he tends to his cows and plow. All of these stories are there, present in the rapid pace of the cities, but it’s easier to pass them by and miss the glimpses of a story in each mannerism.

I didn’t spend long in China, particularly not rural China, but the days spent on cycling through the towns and scootering across the bumpy roads around Yangshuo stand out in their stark simplicity.

This post was last modified on July 22, 2013, 3:22 am