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Faces of Yunnan Province – China

What is it about faces we find so appealing? Is it what we see of ourselves reflected back, a recognition of wisdom, or a hope for the future?

We entered China almost 1 month ago and have been overwhelmed with everything about the country. From the public works projects, to the size of the cities, to the friendliness of the people, everything has been a surprise. In that time I’ve had my camera going almost non-stop to capture the endless scenes around us in a futile attempt to convey the experience to others. However, in looking at the pictures the ones that I find the most compelling and insightful have been of the faces we’ve encountered.

While walking down the street in Lijiang we found this boy working with his father’s tools and looking absolutely adorable.  I love children because they are curious, quick to smile, and wear their emotions on their face. I love knowing that this boy represents a future China that will be so different from what his grandparents experienced and that he will have opportunities that were unheard of even 20 year ago.

While on a long bike ride along Lake Erhai in Dali we rode through a small village and stopped in their “town square”. We quickly became the big attraction for the locals who came up to check out the foreigners. This woman was quick to share a smile and laugh and we shared a brief conversation through pointing and our limited Mandarin. During the discussion she was clearly enthralled by the hair on my face, arms, and legs. In the end she petted by arms in exchange for this picture. Can you imagine what this woman has seen in her lifetime?

Before coming to China we did not know what to expect in terms of how dogs would be treated. Well, after a month here I can honestly say that I am delighted to see so many well-treated and cute dogs. Here in Lijiang we passed this dog every day when we walked by his owner’s store. This particular morning he made sure we could not miss him by planting himself in the middle of the street. We rewarded his patience with a leftover dumpling.

This is one of my favorite pictures from China because I believe this man represents so much of what we talk about with Living the Good Life. All about him are people doing various forms of exercise and martial arts. He was sitting at the corner of the park with a huge smile on his face and this large contraption on his lap. A few hundred meters above him is his kite, which we assume he comes out to fly each morning. With all the distractions and people around, I love knowing he is here finding pleasure in the simple act of flying a kite.

Friendship looks the same the world over. This image feels like a stolen moment of conversation between two friends. The subject is not important, but the idea of two people being able to sit together and just talk is a reminder of how much we gain from company with another human. No cell phones, no distractions, just share an afternoon together.

In China we’ve found that people have the same ideas of life, yet different history and experience. I am inspired by their faces and the stories each contains.

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