Textile Study Trip to China’s Guizhou Province: Part 1

 

This is the first of several posts intended mainly for my own benefit as a record of a wonderful trip from Perth to Guizhou in China from 17 – 28 February 2018. The capital of Guizhou province is Guiyang.

 

 

China province and major cities map chinamap

Map showing China’s provinces (black) and major cities (red).  Note how far Guizhou (lower centre in mauve) is from Beijing and Shanghai.

 

Last year I was lucky enough to register quickly for, and be accepted into, a small group tour of Guizhou Province, north of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province.  Dates were 17-27 February 2018.

Arranged by Gail Hawes of Soulful Stitches (https://www.soulfulstitches.com.au),  its purpose was to study the traditional textiles of the region, specifically the traditional embroidered costumes of some of the region’s many Chinese minority groups (that is, non-Han Chinese communities). We would attend village-level Chinese New Year festivals and visits to the studios and homes of clan embroidery masters.  Just four of us plus Gail, a guide (Mr Lee) and a driver, explored several remote areas of Guizhou occupied by minority hill tribes of Miao and Dong people.  The trip took place during the Chinese New Year period,   concentrated on 15- 19 February 2018, so there were pluses and minuses.  The plus for us of course was all the New Year festivals in the province.  The negative?  Unusually crowded roads and many shops closed because their owners were travelling back to their home villages as required by New Year protocols.

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Left to right: Gail; Janet; Judy; me; and Jennie.  Bright -eyed and ready to tackle anything Guizhou can throw at us! Photo: Gail Hawes via amenable fellow traveller.

On Saturday at 12.15pm on 17 February 2018 we arrived at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou,via Singapore,  after leaving Perth just after 1am. We transferred to a local airline for a flight to Guiyang, arriving in Guiyang at 5.30pm.  That last flight was notable for the fact that we had to empty our luggage of all batteries and chargers.  I normally put my laptop and my laptop and mobile phone chargers, etc, in my checked luggage but on this leg its was forbidden.  I removed mine (necessitating unlocking suitcase, and stowing these items in carry on luggage) but at least one in the group did not.  On arrival in Guiyang her suitcase was found to have been unlocked and a note left to say she had infringed the rules.  Coincidentally, the lock was missing, as was a necklace.

Our guide, Mr Lee, met us with his comfortable seven seater car and took us to the Trade Point Hotel for the night. The rooms were non-smoking ones but nobody told the previous guests or the people doing the laundry.  In due course I learned to live with that.

 

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Gail talking to Janet in the foyer of the Trade Point Hotel in Guiyang while guide Mr Lee checked us in.  Judy is in the background checking the wall art.

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For the Chinese New Year celebrations the foyer was filled with real miniature mandarin trees covered with fruit

 

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Detail of the beautiful foyer rugs: a foretaste of the richness to come

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This hotel offers more than complimentary toothbrushes and shampoo!

 

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Helpful guidance

After checking in we had our very first meal in Guizhou.

Dinner in Guiyang

Left to right: Mr Lee (our guide), Jennie, me, Judy and Janet. We quickly upgraded our chopstick skills and enjoyed the chilli and the Chinese tea.  Photo: Gail Hawes.

 

This entry was posted in Eating rural Chinese food, Embroidery traditions of the Miao and Dong people of Guizhou province, Guizhou in South -West China, Hand embroidery, Textile tour to China and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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