Photo tourism has injected a new revenue stream to the locals at DongChuan Red Land.
This elder in Red Land has become the iconic male model. He posts during morning at Musical Score Concave and at Lo Shi Wan during the evening. Photographers can pay him any tips at will if you like to take a picture of him. It is less labour intensive compared to farming.
Avoid taking pictures of any local without permission, they will shout at you demanding for portraiture fees. if you step onto their farm land, they will fine you RMB10 to 50.
Of course, there are exception. This little girl was helping out in the farm and the family was kind enough to let us take pictures while they were working.
Just few hours away in Kunming city, kids are spoiled with modern amenities and toys.
Many farmers are taking part in the local tourism in Red Land. Some building guest houses, restaurant, and some work at part time worker (RMB100 per day) in the rest house.
We enjoyed visiting the local villages and seeing the daily lives go about.
I grew up in village too. I still remembered the dirt floor inside the house without tiles or cement.
I have the freedom to wonder in the neighbourhood. Children raised in modern city are growing up in more protective environment.
We saw the young kids have to walk about 5KM to school everyday. There is lack of public transport, so locals have to wait for long hours on the road to squeeze into the crowded bus. The financial gap is widening in China. There are so many cars in the cities that traffic congestion for week (not hours) are common scene.
You would see million of bicycles in cities 20 years ago, now you can see nice cars and electric bicycles.
Just few hours apart, the highlander and the city folks are living in different world. From their smile, some how I could tell who could be happier despite the hardship.