The Naxi people of the region surrounding the town of Lijiang are one of the few cultures today with remnants of a matriarchal society. In matrilineal lines of descent, inheritance passes down through the female branches of the family. Correspondingly the women have traditionally been the primary leaders and decision makers, and often act as the main working force. Like strong women everywhere they are confident and beautiful, and with a touch of Tibetan lineage they have deeply set roots.
The village of Lijiang is a winding labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets. It has grown to become a very popular Chinese tourist destination, particularly amongst an outdoor-minded crowd. The Chinese eco-tourist is the same as the rest of us – she wears gore-tex and a big pack, and she’s looking for something cool to do. A way to progress.
Shopping is one of the town’s hottest attractions, so we indulged and spent time wandering the cyclical pattern of shops. Our joke was that the shopkeepers should employ my pretty girl Caroline as a sales enhancer – she could pick any random item off any shelf, and within seconds three other shoppers would have the same one in their hands ready for purchase…
Escaping from the maze we headed for the nearest high point, which brought us to a mammoth set of old stone steps. From the view point at the top we took the opportunity to pose some pictures in the local style.
Then we shouldered our bags to get back on the road.