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I’m at the Li and Miao Minority Village in Hainan Island – and if you think you’re in for an authentic experience, it depends on your definition of authentic. If hordes of Chinese tour groups and lineups and guides waving flags and shouting in your face is authentic, then this is as real as it gets. That said, I loved it anyway.
The people you meet – Hainan Island
Here’s a few photos of the Li, an ethnic minority that can impressively maintain a friendly demeanour in the face of chaos. I certainly couldn’t do it, but then I’m not known for being friendly like they are.
You might think this Li woman on Hainan Island at the southwestern tip of China, is giving me the thumbs up, but the gesture in Li speak actually means ‘hello.’ At least I think it does. Unless it means, ‘right on, sister!’ which is okay, too. I just hope it doesn’t mean get the heck out of my face.
Not only can this Li man slice a mean bunch of coconuts, he’s also an excellent tree climber, a skill highly prized by the Li people. Apparently it’s considered very sexy …. just saying.
More of the Li Minority on Hainan
Yes, we’re still hanging out with the Li, an ethnic minority considered to be the original inhabitants of Hainan Island – as opposed to the wealthy northern Chinese who are now buying up pricy condos on the island to escape the winter. I’ve heard real estate there can be more expensive in Hong Kong.
Dig the cool tattoos on this woman’s face – it puts the trendsetters on Toronto’s Queen West to shame.
Dancing on Hainan Island
At the village you can catch a performance of a bamboo dance – but you’ll be fighting a lot of tourists to get close. Still, no one seemed to mind when I just pushed past everyone to get a front row seat. Well, I never got a seat, but I got a good crouching position.
So Hainan Island might be a place for wealthy Chinese to relax by the outdoor pools in luxury resorts but the Li and Miao Minority Village in Hainan Island is an interesting slice of life, authentic or not.
Read more about Hainan Island, China’s tropical island
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