Photographer's Note

I do not claim that this is a technically good photo, but the low quality is due to it being scanned from a slide taken from a moving train almost 33 years ago. More important to me than technical perfection is the view of a Chinese way of life which is now rapidly disappearing.

This is somewhere in Ningxia, an autonomous region created for the Hui people, one of China's many ethnic minorities. I was going by train through northern China from Inner Mongolia to Gansu province (a journey of about 23 hours; no super fast bullet train in 1986), when I noticed we were passing by a remarkably old-fashioned village, where not much seemed to have changed since the 19th century. I quickly managed to get my camera out of its bag, just in time to take this photo. I would imagine that the window was already open because of the heat.

I checked my diary to see if I had mentioned taking this photo. I hadn't, but it was obviously a very interesting journey. I noted that as we were going along the Yellow River (Huang He) there was an incredibly sharp division between desert and fertile green fields, which reminded me of Egypt along the Nile. I also saw a small part of the Great Wall quite close to the railway, very far from the noisy crowds and commercialism surrounding the wall in the Beijing area. It wasn't actually very great at all, lying partly in ruins.

This was scanned from a Kodachrome slide. Here is a larger version.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11400 W: 555 N: 22008] (95912)
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