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The coming disappearance of
Yuanyang terraced fields





On the fifth day in Yuanyang, our group of five discussed the duration. Steve said he still be in love with YY and this second visit wasn't long enough — he stays. My two companions from Saigon and Hanoi said either way would be fine with them. Thanh disclosed that his father was seriously sick in Danang and he flew all the way from Houston to Hanoi then joinned us to this trip — he may have to see his dad tomorrow. So, we let Steve stay. And this is one of the last few pictures I took in Qinkou Village before saying goodbye.

When we left on Feb 28, Steve extended his stay in YY and traveled to Kunming and flew to Bangkok to exchange the lenses. The following week, he returned to Yuanyang for the third time. A few hours ago, he emailed us some bad news from South Korea:

“So, right now I am in Korea, I arrived here on Sunday. As I said on TE yesterday, I spent the last 3 weeks of my vacation in Sapa and also 3-4 days in Yuanyang. Yuanyang was ok but just so hazy that it was very hard to get any decent photos of anything over 200 meters away. I will always miss the beautiful scenery in Yuanyang, but I won’t miss the food! The whole three days I spent there recently I was thinking, 'I can’t wait to get back to Sapa to have a good meal!' ;)

While I was there I visited the NGO World Vision that does some work there. They told me that UNESCO has been to Yuanyang 3 times but ultimately rejected heritage status, not sure why though. They also told me that the fields in the valleys of Yuanyang might become threatened by banana farming. It seems that many rice farmers in the area are getting turned on to planting banana trees since they require little work and upkeep and yield an easily sellable crop. Hope that never comes to pass, the world truly would lose something special — this is not just Chinese/Hani heritage but I believe it’s world heritage now. Its something unique and special and it would be a shame if we were to lose it to commercial enterprise.”

We don’t think Steve is joking. If you take his statement seriously, you may want to consider a visit to YY before its terraced fields disappear, for ever.


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Additional Photos by Nhiem Hoang (hoangthenhiem) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 13 W: 0 N: 488] (2531)
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