The Yi people are the 4th (or 7th) largest minority in China. As such, they can have 3 children rather than 2 like the Han Chinese. They speak their native Yi language (related to Tibetan), Mandarin, as well as learning English in schools.
They live mostly in the mountains of Sichuan and Yunnan. There the air is clear and the sky is blue. They live in adobe style houses with flat roofs and painted with Yi designs.
Much of their food is based on corn, potatoes, buckwheat, pork, mutton, and chicken. Food is simple and not as spicy as Sichuan food.
We drove through several Yi villages and small cities with large markets set up on the side of the road...
Our 4-5 hour trip to Jin Yang turned into 8 with all the stops for lunch, bathroom, animals, accidents, construction and view points...
road construction camp
when you stop to take pictures you just stop
an accident we came upon
The first stop once we reached Jin Yang was to drop off a large load of food we had carried in the luggage compartment.
Once we arrived at the hotel, we learned that 6 days before the water main to the city had been wiped out by heavy rains and landslides and the entire city of 174,000 people was without water. The hotel assured us that we would have water.
Our group was joined by two women currently working with the Yi people to help us with the English Camp: Florence and Rebecca. When the local English teachers wouldn't join us for dinner upstairs, Sue, Rebecca and I went downstairs to eat with them. It was so much fun to get to meet some of them.
After dinner we walked down to the school to see our classrooms and talk about lesson plans.
the elementary school where we held camp
me and the "girls" (Brittany, Tina, Christina, Ember, Cherry)
It didn't take long to discover that in Jin Yang we were an anomaly. In the US we’ve seen it all. Nothing surprises us anymore. But if ET walked in front of you, you would stare. And you’d probably take out your phone and take pics/videos to post on social media. We were ET in Jin Yang. When we stopped on the way back to the hotel to buy soap and some cold drinks, the girl working at the store took a selfie with us. (It was the first but not the last...)
It was our first night in town and we went right back up the road we had come down after dinner. But we couldn't find the gate we had walked through to the hotel anywhere. We were confused and officially lost. Thankfully a group of women who could tell we were lost all came to try and help. Quickly a professionally dressed woman, complete with beautiful high heels, who spoke English came. We showed her our room keys and she walked us back to the hotel. They had just closed the back gate we had come out of after dark.
When we finally arrived back at the hotel we met Rebecca and Florence going out to buy water. There was no more water at the hotel. Fearing that there could be a rush on water, Chrissy went out and bought us large jugs of water for bathing and "flushing."