“I’m here even when it rains”

I’m climbing Northern Yunnan’s Tiger Leaping Gorge. I’ve met a German and a French on the bus, and we walk up the mountain together. At one point, we come by a lonely stall high up in the mountains selling fruits and veggies. I point at some leaves and ask the woman selling these things:

Illustration by Ruth Silbermayr-Song (http://www.ruthsilbermayrsong.com)

Illustration by Ruth Silbermayr-Song (http://www.ruthsilbermayrsong.com)

“What is this?”
She: “Ganja. Would you like to buy some?”
I: “No, thanks.” Instead, I buy a cactus fruit. “How many people come by here every day?”
She: “Currently, not many. Around 20. Foreigners like hiking up Tiger Leaping Gorge, Chinese not that much. When the National Holidays start next week, there will be more people though.”
I: “How do you get these things up here everyday?”
She (pointing at the sunshade umbrella and the table): “I keep these things hidden nearby.” And then: “I carry the fruits and the veggies all the way from my home to this place every morning in a basket on my back. If there are fruits I can’t sell on one single day, I carry them back home in the evening.”
I: “Where do you get the fruits and veggies from?”
She: “I grow the cucumbers, pears and cactus fruits in my garden. The oranges, bananas and apples are from the local market. Every Friday there’s a market in a neighbouring village.”
I: “How about the Ganja, does it grow wild here?”
She: “People grow it in their backyards. It’s against the law, but foreigners like to smoke it.”
I: “Are you here everyday?”
She: “I am, I’m here even when it rains.”

When we’re done with eating the fruits, we say thanks to the woman and walk on further up the mountain.

Have you ever climbed a mountain in China? I’d love to read about your experiences.

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7 thoughts on ““I’m here even when it rains”

  1. I enjoy hiking in the mountains, but if I had to climb the mt. carrying a basket of fruit and vegetable every day, it would be just hard work. Thanks for reminding us of the many people who have to work so hard to make a living.
    Love your art work!

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    • As we found out when we walked on, her village was further up the mountain, meaning that she was carrying the basket of fruits down in the morning and up with a lighter load in the evening. Life on the mountains is surely hard, but I think many of those born there would choose a slow paced life with clean air, beautiful mountains, fresh fruits and vegetables over a fast paced life in a city plagued by smog and overcrowded. Of course, it’s not all black and white (meaning living on the mountain also has some disadvantages), but people there seemed content.

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    • They seem to sell this in every place that sees enough tourists in Yunnan (especially on the old tea road). Elderly ladies will come up to you in Dali and say: “Ganja, ganja?”. That’s what happens if people don’t receive any or enough retirement funds – they’ll have to look for other sources of income.

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    • That one doesn’t have any stairs, it’s like real mountains! And it’s quite dangerous too at some places (you’ll have to cross a little stream with lots of slippery stones and it goes straight down right next to it).

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  2. Pingback: 9000 Kuai for a mule | China elevator stories

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