Come See the Great West

Chinese tourists in rural towns

It was the day of one of Sanjiang County’s biggest festivals. Tourists were everywhere, and I caught this photo on the bridge separating the two sides of the county seat.

I particularly liked this second photo as well, but for those who cannot read Chinese, much of the meaning is lost. The characters long ago painted on the bridge read “The West”, and are a part of a longer phrase: “the Opening of the Great West”.

There is just something in the attitude of many of the Chinese tourists that come out here. Not that I was there, but is seems similar to Wild Bill Hickock’s Wild West shows: come see the fearsome indians and the brave settlers and cavalry that defeated them.

When I was a boy in southern Oklahoma, I still remember the advertising jingle of a (what I will call) large-scale petting zoo: “Come see the animals at Arbuckle Wilderness; the animals are waiting for you.” I could change the wording a little and apply it to the minority people of Southwest China as well, I think.

Cooper Strange Written by: