Dazhai – a feast for the senses! (part 1)

Life on the ground here in Connecticut has been keeping me away from the laptop and this blog has been awfully neglected as a result lately. Tomorrow we’re actually doing the first bit of mini travel – local – since we’ve arrived. We’re going for an overnight trip to celebrate Roman’s birthday :-D! The laptop is going to be left behind but I want to try to get in a post or two before we head off…

So without further ado, here are some more thoughts and notes on our days in Dazhai.

Sense of sound

There are so many sensuous details that stand out in my memory from Dazhai, so many little things I totally savored while we were there.

I mentioned before how refreshingly quiet Dazhai was.

The village is so small. There’s no night life to speak of, there were not too many tourists while we were there, the villagers are mostly farmers who seem to live pretty simple lives, in terms of technology at least. There are only a few motors in town – a handful of scooters and the occasional piece of mechanized farm equipment.

All this makes for unexpected but glorious quiet. Without all the background noise of urban life, the smaller-scale sounds start to gently come to the fore.

Here’s one recording taken on our first day there.

Dazhai 1

The scene is on one of the hills surrounding the village. We stopped at the end of our hike to enjoy the trickle of a small mountain brook and listen to the symphony of insects warm up as the sun headed towards the horizon. You can hear farmers threshing rice by hand – that’s the thumping sound. Of course when I hit record, a jet had to fly overhead, so you’ll hear that too – but that’s not typical of Dazhai! 🙂

This is from another location, but here is a picture of a man and woman manually threshing some recently harvested rice, just to give a visual to the sound clip.

Of course this lack of motors means that goods coming into and out of the village are somewhat limited. Dazhai isn’t too cut off – there is a road that leads pretty close to its entrance. But much of the food we ate while there was locally produced (like the local tofu we had fried up at our hotel one night – seriously yum!!!).

It also means that larger things that have to make it up to villages up the hills that are accessible only by footpath are getting carried up one of two ways: by horse power (literally) or man (or woman) power. We saw a lot of heavy things making their way up and down hill during our hikes along the various trails and it never failed to impress.


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