Day 4 part b - Southeastern Guizhou - Sandu Shui village
In less than 30 minutes, we reached Sandu County to visit village of the 'Shui' people. 'Shui' in Chinese means water which explained their inhabitant near the river. Our driver was able to drive us to the closets spot to get to the village. He pulled the car over by the roadside and told us that the village is across the river. He waited patiently while we explored the Shui village.
The river water at the time was shallow enough for us to wade through by stepping on the pebbles laid on the riverbed. However, we saw a boatman waiting in idle for his passengers on the other side of the river. He was handicap with a missing arm. We thought taking a boat ride would be a better idea than to get our feet wet in the cold. Although the boatman asked for a fare that did not justify to the short ride, we took the offer anyway.
We arrived the village in a few minutes. The village was very quite, we learned that it was because most of the villagers were still out working somewhere. We tucked our heads into the houses around the village and took great delight when we found a lady weaving in one of the houses. After asking for her permission, we were invited into her house. We found her weaving a long narrow lace at a dark corner. It was a very intricate lace weaved with fine thread. I know that they use this kind of lace as straps on their apron. (Refer to the photo shown on the left.) We managed to buy three beautiful laces from her. We didn't stay too long because we were unable to communicate with her. The lady did not speak much Mandarin.
|Shui lady in Sandu county|
|Weaving loom is an essential item in every Shui family|
As we continued to explore deeper into the village, we came to a house with a lady who looked busy preparing dinner for her family. The setting of her kitchen was basic. Nevertheless, it was organized and clean. She invited us to stay for the meal. We politely rejected the invitation even though we very much like the idea. We were just not sure if she really meant or it was merely an act of politeness. In addition, we didn't have time to stay anyway. It could have been a good opportunity to get to know the family better. In future, I will plan to have more time for each of the destination so I don't have to pass on an opportunity like this again.
On our way back to the riverside, we came across a young girl. Bravely, we asked her if we could visit her home. She was very kind to bring us to her house. I guess this is something we can never offer to strangers we meet in our country. We are usually quite suspicious of strangers in the big cities :).
|Beautiful roofscape from the balcony|
The young girl lived with her brother, sister-in-law and a baby nephew. Shortly after we went into her house, her brother came home. He was also amiable like his sister and welcomed our visit. We saw this beautiful baby carrier made by her sister-in -law for her baby. In a bedroom, we saw a weaving loom with a half woven cloth in white. We noticed that Shui ladies wear hand woven white head scarves with thin blue and purple lines running at the two ends. The head scarves may appear to be simple at first glance, but if looked closely, you will find watermarked designs that are distinctively different from weaver to weaver, like thumb prints.
Tyng and I were so intrigued by her sister-in-law's craftsmanship. We expressed our interest to buy some head scarves from her. The young girl hesitated. She was not sure if she could make the decision without her sister-in-law permission. But after discussing with her brother, they decided they could offer two head cloths to us. She looked like an amateur trader, I am pretty sure this is an unusual experience for her as it was for us. We bought the two head scarves and she helped Tyng to put it on.
Happily, we waved goodbye. Both of us giggled like kids with new toys on our way back to catch our boat ride back to the car. We were few steps away to catch our boat ride when we met two other Shui ladies. They had baskets of vegetables on their shoulders and appeared to be coming back from the field. At first, they looked like they were amused with Tyng wearing their traditional head scarves. But one of the ladies started to whisper to her friend when we got closer to them, and pointed her fingers at Tyng. As we got closer to each others, she looked like she was able to confirm with her friend on something. Suddenly, she approached Tyng and pointed at the head scarf on Tyng and then pointed back at herself-it was hers! She held Tyng's arm and led us back to her house. Although she was speaking in the local dialect but we could understand her through her body language. Oh no! This must be the sister-in-law of the young girl. We got worried and wondered if she wanted us to return the head scarves. Technically we paid for the head scarves, but we felt like a guilty kid caught from stealing and wanted to flee. But we managed to calm ourselves and followed her back to her house.
She called the young girl to make confirmation. In our hearts, we both thought we had to return the two head scarves. The young girl turned to us to interpret her conversation with her sister in law. To our surprise, she felt that we should have new ones instead of the old ones because it was better and more polite for the visitors to bring home new items than the old ones. We felt great sense of relief.
|Moments to cherish|
|Shui people handmade shoes|
She sold two pairs of shoes that she could part with to us. We later displayed these shoes at our business stall in the mall. We tagged the selling price at RM239 per pair. While many people had admired, no one bought them. I guess $$$ matter. Today I would not part with it with the same offer. I am glad that Tyng and I each get to keep a pair of these beautiful shoes.
Happily we waved goodbye again to this family after we took some photos with them. We ran to catch our boat ride to cross the river. We were late but our driver was patient and didn't make any fuss.
|Spacious room with|
two Queen size beds
From conversation with the receptionist, we learnt that our ancestor and his are all originated from the Fujian province. That made everything easier when you are ' Ka Ki Lang' (same family). We got the deal at 120 Yuan, 30 Yuan cheaper than local. I guess this is something about women winning at a bargain, it is not only the money that matter but satisfaction too.