Este verano realizamos un viaje a China, para conocer la arquitectura y descubrir las costumbres de diferentes zonas y etnias del Sur (Zhejiang, Fujian, Guizhou).
Uno de nuestros destinos fue la provincia de Guizhou (específicamente el Sur Este de la provincia) para profundizar nuestro conocimiento en arquitectura y cultura de los pueblos DONG y MIAO. Habíamos contactado desde España con CHEN (especialista y conocedor en profundidad y estudioso de su cultura MIAO y de la cultura DONG), para acompañarnos durante 5 días.
Este escrito es para agradecer a esta persona - ya amigo - todo su entusiasmo y su alegría a transmitirnos su amor y sus conocimientos de estos pueblos. Nos hemos convertido casi en “expertos” con tanta emoción y nos ha enseñado tanto sobre las personas y las costumbres de todos los lugares que hemos visitado. Hemos aprendido a diferenciar por el peinado a una mujer de una etnia u otra (solo por ver el precioso mono que se hacen sujetado con un alfiler o un peine). Sabemos reconocer los detalles arquitectónicos de los maravillosos puentes de nombre poético (puente de las flores, puente de la lluvia, puente del viento, puente que mira a la puesta del sol…) puentes que al construirse para el paso de un río daban lugar al pueblo o la ciudad y no solo permitían el paso de las personas pero se convertían en zonas de comercio y de vida. Hemos descubierto tantas torres del tambor (drum towers) siempre magnificas, siempre de pisos impares (menos cuando un carpintero se confundió y hizo una par).
Tanto las torres como los puentes no solo son lugares prácticos y funcionales pero también son centros culturales, lugares de reunión o de juego, sitios para descanso… lugares que CHEN nos ha invitado a compartir.
Maravillosas estructuras arquitectónicas igual son las casas, construidas siempre en madera sin clavos ni puntas, casas que CHEN nos ha enseñado a apreciar desde fuera como desde dentro.
Hemos compartido con CHEN las risas, las complicadas explicaciones por los problemas de idioma con los habitantes de los pueblos, con los trabajadores de los campos de arroz o con las mujeres hermosas del algodón (lo recogen, lo hilan en sus ruecas artesanales, lo tintan de índigo y finalmente se confeccionan vestidos preciosos).
Con CHEN hemos conocido tantos puentes (con sus pinturas naif que cuentan las leyendas de los pueblos), tantas torres del tambor, tantos pueblos, hemos subido y bajado montañas, caminado por sus hermosas terrazas en las laderas de los campos de arroz, y siempre alegría e interés.
Los 5 días que hemos disfrutado y compartido la vida de los habitantes se lo debemos a CHEN. Siempre contento, incansable magnifico actor si nos representaba cenas de la vida del pueblo o peleas de los búfalos (explicándonos la importancia que representan para el honor del clan). Gracias CHEN hemos pasado unos días inolvidables. Todas las ilusiones que teníamos preparando el viaje se han multiplicado gracias a tu trabajo, a las fantásticas experiencias compartidas contigo y a tus cuidados cuando nos proporcionaba café y bollitos en el medio de la montaña y gracias por conseguir que estuviéramos lo mas cómodo posible.
Tú amiga Gloria (Madrid, Spain) 20/09/2017
|I like to help Tony make recommendations, I wholeheartedly endorse Tony
Chen as the finest and most competent guide/translator/tour operator that
we have ever used.
My wife and I took an 11 day tour of SW Guizhou with Tony in March, 2013.
Our interest was in minority textiles, culture and traditional villages.
He came highly recommended and he did not disappoint. Through our correspondence
with Tony, he purposed an itinerary tailored to mesh our desires and time
frame with festivals, market days, and museum visits. In hindsight, we
wouldn't change a thing.
I knew Tony was Miao, and was raised in a traditional village. What we
quickly learned was that he is very conscientious, detail oriented and
a quick study to our wants and needs. We found that he is knowledgeable
about anthropology, textiles, history, photographic sites, and farming.
His passion for this fascinating region of China and its cultures is infectious.
He quickly became our friend and teacher. Tony is constantly visiting
new villages that are off the main tourist track. During our entire tour
we saw but 1 other tourist group, and that was at our hotel. In every
village he was well known and respected. He easily approached, met and
interacted with everyone. He is an excellent translator and always made
us a part of the conversations.
Tony approaches his occupation with a strict sense of responsibility.
This was constantly evident in his dealing with restaurants, hotels and
his driver. Our needs, wants and safety always came first. In short, he
leads his tours with experience and authority. Our van and driver were
excellent as well.
We have taken other tours in China, and elsewhere. A common practice is
to visit a village and be told explore on your own. Then you're instructed
return to the vehicle at a certain time. Tony, however, always accompanied
us and our visits were enriched with his insights, knowledge of village
layout, and comfort with the people. He has guided many professional photographers
and knows the best spots for photos and when it's not appropriate.
Tony Chen offers a first rate service that may cost a little more, but
in my opinion there can be no better guide in SW China.
Roland and Lyndall Lummis - Colorado Springs,
|Brooke and Dov with Gejia Women
joining a Funeral
||Small Flower Miao Women and
Children in Batik Dress
We don't have a lot of experience with guides, but my husband
and I both felt that Tony far exceeded any expectations that we
had. He was always extremely considerate, well informed and good
humored. I would like to list a few specific things that he did
which I particularly appreciated.
1. He gave us a very warm welcome at the airport and offered
choice of having lunch or leaving directly for Kaili. We chose to
drive right away to Kaili so he gave us snacks and water for the
2. He hired a very good driver and a comfortable air conditioned
van to take us everywhere. This proved to be very important when
we were faced with the challenges of road construction and narrow
mountain roads later in the week.
3. He took us to many great restaurants and ordered interesting
local dishes. He carried disposable chopsticks, napkins and bottled
water to make sure that we didn't get sick ( and we didn't). Once
he discovered that we liked cold ( as opposed to luke warm) beer
with our meals, he made a special trip at each location and always
managed to find bottles of chilled beer. Cold beer is usually available
in the large cities or tourist sites but still hard to find in the
provincial towns in China.
4. He was very knowledgeable on the subject of minority textiles
and answered all of our questions. He was able to identify the group
and the area of many of our purchases. He shared several of his
books with us on the subject of Miao textiles and embroidery techniques.
5. We were not in Guizhou during the season for any of the big
festivals, but Tony still made a great effort to find out about
some of the smaller local festivals He spent a lot of time talking
with residents of various villages and tracking down events in smaller
less known villages. The fact that he is Miao was definitely a great
6. The itinerary that he designed for us reflected our interest
in Miao culture but was not so ambitious that we ended up spendinghalf
a day or more in the car ( comfortable though it was, we were happy
to avoid that). We were able to make choices and adjustments as
we went along and saw a great deal without ever feeling pressured
or experiencing cultural over-load.
7. When we spent a night in a small hotel away from Kaili, Tony
arrived in the breakfast room with juice, bread jam and coffee.He
was concerned that we might not like the Chinese breakfast.
8. On the morning of our departure from Guiyang, Tony and the
driver were ready at an early hour to take us to the airport. When
we got to the airport toll-gate there were long lines of cars backed
up and waiting at the three gates that were open in our direction.
Tony jumped out of the car and ran up to one of the booths for the
closed gates. After a few minutes of persuading, he was allowed
to go and manually lift the gate so that we could drive through.
This was typical of his "going the extra mile" to make
sure that everything worked out for us.
9. After taking us to get our boarding passes and walking with
us up to the security checkpoint, Tony finally discharged us from
his care and we said good-bye. As we were turning the corner to
walk to our gate, we looked back and saw that Tony was still standing
and watching us, just to make sure that we were heading in the right
direction and still on our feet.
So, after our week with Tony we now have a better idea of what
a guide can be: a good guide becomes a teacher, a leader, a friend
and almost a parent in some situations. Traveling with Tony was
a very special experience and one that we will recommend to any
of our friends planning a trip to China.
& Dov Jaron from USA
Flower Miao Women in Hidden Guizhou
and Linda with Big Flower Miao People
and Linda with Tony's Family in Langde
A few days ago, we received Tony's letter for asking to write the recommendation
letter for him, we were very happy and decided to write something for
To tell you how good Tony's service is, we can write it by several pages,
but maybe no one likes to read a long letter, so we just write it in a
We travelled with Tony in Guizhou 3 times at present. The first trip
we travelled in a group of 11 people in April 2004, the tour was 11 days
in Guizhou, Susan Pifer brought us for Tony's, we saw the Sisters' meal
festival with Miao villages, waterfalls and natural scenery. Charles took
the video for Tony, we agree Tony to use our video for the advertisement,
hope he can put it on his web site soon. Before this tour, Susan and her
husband-John also traveled with Tony in Guizhou 3 times, Susan knew Tony
Our second trip we brought Arvona and her daughter-Linda, we flew from
Shanghai to Chongqing, then made the trip with Tony starting from Chongqing,
we saw 3 interesting Miao festivals in the remote region of northwest
Guizhou together with different kinds of Miao costumes, the tour was 22
days in Guizhou. You maybe think 22 days only in Guizhou is too long,
but Tony told us his longest trip in Guizhou was 23 days, the group members
were also from the US who were fond of tribal textiles and embroidery
Our recent Guizhou trip with Tony was in 2009, the tour was 16 days,
we brought the other three friends, they were our neighbours. We explored
many Miao festivals in Southeast Guizhou, we also visited the Hundred
Bird Miao village with a performance, because we were the first foreign
group who need the performance in the village, the Miao villagers regarded
it as festival to celebrate.
We took a lot of pictures each time for our tours to Guizhou, we also
like to share the pictures to our friends and neighbours, we hope to visit
Guizhou again with Tony if we have a chance in the future.
In a word, Tony was Miao from the countryside, his knowledge of Miao
culture is unique. He is especially good at every detail of the tour,
he deserves what you pay. Oh, please don't worry about his small team,
Tony is a professional tour operator and guide, he was responsible for
his tours and clients, he has done this job since 1997.
Charles Curtis from Tucson, USA
March 16th, 2012
|Four Seal Miao Women in Liuzhi
My wife and I searched many days on the web to find a guide that
would compliment our needs and are character to travel in Guizhou.
We came across Tony's Web Page and unlike the other glossy looking
pages he actually talked about the area and the different Minority
People, his articles and photos on line convinced us that he had
a tremendous understanding of the landscape and its peoples. Tony
is an ethnic Miao and is connected to his people with a deep understanding
of the culture and crafts; we actually stayed at his village and
it became apparent that his family and himself were concerned about
tradition and preserving the integrity of the Miao culture.
We have travelled to many places before mostly without guides
but what Tony added to this trip was knowledge of textiles, the
people and their daily lives and their beliefs. Tony told us stories
and that is what you usually remember about a trip; it was these
stories of his family; friends and village people; festivals; marriage
births and work that we remember with fondness. I particularly like
the story about his brother buying a fighting bull The Bull that
would Not Fight.
It was these stories that made his services so very special we
felt we knew him his family and the people of the area. He was more
than a guide we enjoyed being on tour with him and would not hesitate
to do another with him anytime soon
|Gejia Women in Batik Dress
Joan and I want to thank
you for everything you have done to make this trip enjoyable
and memorable. As teachers, we love your intelligence and
the information yo have given us. As people,we love your thoughtfulness
and attention to the big and the little details.
We want to give you a special thank you
for the arrangements you made for us before and after this
tour -the hotels,the plane tickets and the guides. We will
use what we have learned fron you to guide us on the rest
of our journey.
Remember,I am happy to help you with any
internet or email problems of questions you have in the future.
( If we return to this area of China in
the future,you will be our guide.)
Howard Diner and Eva from Canada
|Xijia Woman in
Congratulations, you did a marvellous job leading
this group. Everyone appreciated the hard work & time you spent
taking care of us. The food was outstanding.
Both John & I wish you every success. I will
do our best to encourage others to visit Guizhou.
Susan & John Pifer
|A Miao Woman in Her Best Festival Dress
Thank you, Tony....
Your concern for our welfare & comfort has
made this trip to China memorable. The quality of our food &
lodging was outstanding.
You are an excellent guide.
It has been delightful traveling with you through your beautiful
part of China, especially the first part with just four of us. I
learned so much. The Miao are beautiful people. I would love to
come back again to see new places in Guizhou.
Thanks for taking such good care of us and being so kind to me.
You are fun to travel with!
Thank you for a wonderful trip. It could very easily been a
disaster-- bad weather, one tour leader sick, the other new to the
job -- but your enety, cheerfulness, and konwledge pulled us through
and made it a succuss. To appreciate all your help shopping, and
I thank you for helping me get through despite my bad knee. We would
tour China with you any time. Thanks again.
Gene & Joan Eppen
P.S. If you ever need a recommendation, just E.Mail us!
Dear Tony --
Many Many thanks for all you have done to make this trip a success.
We needed you badly to make up for the others inexperience. You
are a wonderful travel companion and I hope to see you again sometime
in China or the USA. I invite you to my home if you come to San
Diego. It has been delighful to get to know you and your family.
Langde is a treasure.
Best wishes for your future carrier and for married life. I
wish you happiness, long life and prosperity.
make the tour, contact Along
texts and image by Chen Hualong
rights reserved by Hu Yan
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