Yunnan Provence, China 2005
A woman from one of the many Hmong minorities sits on the curb in Donchuan city. This was a typical pose for anyone in town who had nothing to do. They’d hunker down on a corner and just watch the world of Dongchuan go by. From this woman’s expression, she is not happy about what is taking place in the big city.
And it is a big city. I think all cities in China have populations of several million people. It sort of looked like the wild west. Some of the main roads leading into the city were unpaved and because there was a constant fine rain, the place was a mudhole. The Chinese didn’t let that bother them. They went about their business, buying and selling. Bringing produce from the countryside and hauling supplies back to the farm.
The woman’s costume was different from most tribal people’s. She looked like a nun wearing slacks. All was a dark blue or black except for some trim of white. And the women of her tribe seemed to have shaved their heads. I’d seen that custom among H’mong in northern Viet Nam. She is sitting in front of a typical store on the main street of Dongchuan. They don’t have window dressers in the provinces. And that green dishpan next to her? Maybe it was to catch the rain pouring off the roof and prevent it from splashing the shop’s merchandise. Here we would be sued or fined or put out of business for placing an obstacle that might cause a person to trip and fall. The Chinese are too clever for that. They know how to watch where they put their feet.