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Baoding: A Hlai Village in Western Hainan


Take a bus from Basuo to Donghe and you'll pass through a place with the poetic name of Linggongli or 'Zero Kilometres', presumably because it is at the start of the road to Donghe. A few miles past Linggongli you'll come to a sign beside the road announcing the presence of a little village named Baoding. From this sign it's a walk of about one kilometre or 10-15 minutes to the village itself.

This is a brief account of a visit to this village in October 2003. We arrived towards evening and left the next morning, so it was only a very short visit and we had little chance to get to know the village.

Below are a few scenes from the village:

barrack-like housing
No traditional housing in this village, which was relocated to make way for a dam. The barrack-like houses do not admit much of a breeze, which made them stiflingly hot in the late Hainan summer.


At the sign of a camera, the village children would run away.

Dinner, with a strong but clear alcoholic drink brewed from 'sticky rice'.

Naturally, the village has its own karaoke establishment ... several of them, in fact. The songs were all in Mandarin or Cantonese.

That night we bathed with cold water from a well, standing under a trellis in the open air. When I told my hosts that I wanted to visit the toilet before retiring, I was escorted along a partly overgrown path to a small brick structure well away from the houses. After I saw the state of the toilets, which was just as bad as, if not worse than, that in any part of China, my desire to use them suddenly disappeared. We slept on a reed mat on a hard bed, surrounded by a mosquito net.

The following morning we left. These are a couple of photos of the village:

Water buffalo.


The local school...
...and two women washing bananas in the stream.
women washing bananas


In the morning, many trucks could be seen transporting villagers to their jobs.

I was told that the main cash crops of the village are mangoes and bananas.

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