Petzl RocTrip China 2011 : Culture and lifestyle in Getu - last minute information
The Guizhou province is one of the last areas that has been opened to western tourism in the late eighties. It is also called the province of minorities due to the presence of numerous tribes of different origin that settled here in the past. The area around Anshun is mainly populated by Miao, Yao and Buyi ethnic groups.
In this mountainous region it is possible to harvest three crops per year, colza that flourishes in April, rice throughout the summer rain season and corn in the fall. Each farm also raises pigs, goats, chicken, ducks and a few cows.
Even with an improvement of everyday comfort, young generations are continuously drawn towards modern city life and many have left the country side. Elderly folks still live accordingly to their traditions, tending the land, etc. Tiny fields hang on the steep and rocky hills, kept together by stone walls. Agriculture is done the old way, no mechanical tools are used and the water buffalo pulls the plow...
Tombs are scattered around the fields, the simple mounds of stone are noticeable by a white cloth hanging on a stick. In April, families go from tomb to tomb replacing the white cloth and light up huge rolls of firecrackers to chase the evil spirits away.
The Getu river is in fact trapped between the spring source and the underground tunnel under the great arch of Chuanshang 10 km further. It is a useful way of communication between isolated villages, to transport construction materials, livestock and carry children to school.
During the RocTrip, when numerous climbers are expected to attend (up to day 450 registered people from 35 different countries), it will be up to everyone to respect the area, its inhabitants and local customs. The villagers of Getu have warmly welcomed the route setters - it's now time for climbers to show that they are worthy visitors.
A few recommendations:
- Saying 'Ni Hao' (Hello) with a smile will always be appreciated
- ask before taking pictures of people
- do not walk through any crops - take the small tracks that go around the fields
- do not cut trees or bamboo
- do not start any fires in the open
- be an example: do not litter. Pick up what you see and dispose of it properly
- make sure that local children, who surely follow you to the crag stay out of danger
Communication with the locals could be quite complicated. Mandarin is very hard to pronounce correctly, local dialects are still very strong and very few people speak English. The following French-English-Chinese survival dictionary will surely come in handy.