After our boat ride down the Li River from Yangshuo, we disembarked into a field full of water buffalo and carefully made our way across. The gentle giants looked curiously on as we marched past, peacefully chewing their cud. They seemed so docile that I wanted to pet one but our guide advised against it. Taking my chances, I inched closer while the bull stared me down. Eventually I got too close for his comfort and he starting walking towards me with purpose, horns at the ready. I got out of there in a hurry!
Crossing a small foot bridge across a pond, we arrived in the ancient village of Fuli where yet more water buffalo were on hand to greet us.
Once our welcoming committee was safely past, our guide led us down the cobbled lanes of the old village. The place seemed deserted, with only a stray dog or two running by occasionally. At first the only signs of life were the remnants of thousands of fire crackers the townspeople had set off in celebration of Chinese New Year.
But soon we began to see that some of the doors were open. As it turns out, many of the community members are involved in the cutting and painting of decorative fans. The lovely fans are hand cut and then meticulously painted. We found one house where the women were waist deep in paper scraps, making sure nothing went to waste. The women graciously welcomed us into their shops and after I purchased a freshly painted fan, someone delivered it to my hotel later that night after the paint had dried.
Continuing our walk, we came across locals playing cards in their front yard, men getting a trim at the barbershop and women selling trinkets on their front stoop. We also passed a lot of very large stray dogs and a message written on a wall that read, “beware evil dog inside.” We quickened our pace.
Fuli has a large outdoor market where the townspeople do their shopping. We saw a bounty of beautiful produce, as well as loads of fresh fish and poultry. One thing we were not prepared to see was freshly skinned dogs waiting to be butchered. It seems the roasted dog meat is added to stew and served over rice. The idea of that is off-putting to say the least, but to Fuli’s residents it’s just a way of life.
Would you ever taste dog meat? Let me know in the comments!