Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Houses of Dazhai, China

The houses/buildings of Dazhai, which is one of the two regions of high altitude rice terraces in the area above Longsheng, China, are amazing.  They are made entirely of wood and from what I could gather, are mostly made without nails.  Also, there aren't roads...  I think donkeys must be used to bring in the wood, but I'm not really sure.  I don't even know where the timber is coming from, except maybe way up on the mountains above?  It would be fun to live in the region for a month (and speak Chinese) to watch the progress of putting up one of these buildings.

You'll see a school and a basketball court in the lower right of this picture [above], so a concrete truck may have driven up the road at the bottom of the village, but I watched the top-most 'resort' building being put together with concrete and there was no road for miles.  The sand for the concrete was being run up a gondola on a neighboring ridge, but the concrete was mixed by hand.

[they cut out a couple of rice terraces to put this one up]

I heard word that a gondola is being built into the area so customers no longer have to hike up the mountains to get to their hotels (which is part of the allure, if you ask me).  If this is true, I imagine it's why I saw no less than a dozen new buildings (hotels,?) being raised.

Staying in one of these buildings was not a typical hotel experience.  The floors creaked and and the walls were thin, but I really enjoyed this little bit of unexpected traditional architecture.

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