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Mountains with heart (4)

(China Daily)

12:30, May 23, 2013

A Bouyei woman serves local food to visitors in Wanggang village in Guiyang. (Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily)

The table was not just groaning under the weight of food but begging for mercy, pleading for us to lighten its load. Laughter competed with birdsong. More maidens singing, more rice wine. Well into the night we stayed, unable to pull ourselves away from the incredible hospitality.

The hour of departure could no longer be denied. Farewells were exchanged with a solemnity that contradicted the previous gaiety. Handshakes seemed inadequate. Full body hugs and claps on the back were called for. Journey's end had been reached. Until we laugh together again, paradise postponed.

Like us, the countryside was breathing a sigh of relief. Mountains looming over us appeared picturesque. The sky streaked with red hues, no longer in torment, seemed to be blushing with embarrassment at its previous behavior.

Wits gathered after a short walk, we headed for the meal but first acknowledged an old discolored poster in the main village home displaying the core principles of the Bouyei ethnic group.

"Heaven, Earth, Emperor, Ancestors, Teachers," it read. History was tapping us on the shoulder, a privilege before we sat down to eat.

Fried fish, pork, vegetables of blazing color were offered with joyous abandon to shouts of appreciative approval. And then came the guilt.

Had they enough food for the village, or were we eating them out of house and home? We were assured that the village stored its food for months in advance and had more than adequate supplies.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:GaoYinan、Chen Lidan)

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