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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I arrived in Zhengzhou by Air China from Shanghai on April 10th, and had arranged to meet with an English speaking guide named "Sky" and a driver the next day.

Unlike most of the time when I go it alone, or with friends, I chose to use a guide since transportation from Zhengzhou to Guoliang is a bit complicated and because it would also take more than two hours even direct by car from Zhengzhou, going through Xinxiang (pop: 5.7 million) to further complicate things

(more on Zhengzhou in the next post).

Getting a guide was a very good decision. Sky and his driver friend were a treat to deal with and helped make the trip as fascinating as it was. In the following shots, Sky is wearing the jacket and the driver has the checked shirt. I don't know why Sky is so serious looking in the shots; he's hilarious and great fun to be around. So is the driver. (You might see more of them in the next post about Zhengzhou city).

The day was hot and dry and I was informed this was a couple of weeks before an expected rainy season.

Here, as far as I can glean, is the story behind the tunnel:

In 1972, the Chinese government decided _not_ to spend millions of dollars making a tunnel that would replace a precarious mountain path used to connect Guoliang (high up the cliffs) to other villages and towns lower in the valley as it would assist only about 300 residents of Guoliang Village. So some villagers decided to build a connecting tunnel and roadway themselves.

As far as I can find out, 13 villagers started the project and not all of them surived (among other things, because they were unskilled amateurs using explosives) but five years later, the 4/5 mile tunnel was completed adn opened on May 1, 1977. It's two cars wide, quite steep and the exposed windows were used to expel rubble which can still be seen on the valley floor below the tunnel.

Anyways, about 4 years ago, moderator Soviet pointed me to photos of the place...and changed my life. (Thank you, Zhang!)

So here's my photographic attempt to convey why I wanted/needed to go there: photo overload of the tunnel, the village and the surroundings -- including stepped terraces for corn growing, right up to the ravine/cliff edge in places -- taken all day April 11th/2013 and shown in no particular order...































































































































...and that's one more destination checked off the Bucket List.
. I was in shock after seeing the tunnel photos that Soviet pointed me to; I'm even more in shock after seeing this up close and personal. It's just astonishing to me.
 

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Wow, that is one great story. Too bad you didn't take any pictures ;-):-d
Just kidding of course, I love your photographic essays, it makes me want to be there :-! But, did they have a local jeweler's shop there with some nice local VCMs?
 

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Glorious.

You're compiling quite a documentary record here. You're also, it has struck me, portraying China as a nation of individuals, breaking down the tendency we all have to view China as an homogeneous mass.
 

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Simply awesome Ron!

Along with the engineering feat performed on the tunnel by the villagers; I love the architecture of the old buildings. They look as if they could be a 1000years old :)

Your pictures are giving us an up close and personal view of China :-!:-!
 

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From the time you said you were going there, I was really looking forward to this instalment. Thanks for your report -- it's even better than I hoped it would be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You're also, it has struck me, portraying China as a nation of individuals, breaking down the tendency we all have to view China as an homogeneous mass.
You have discovered my mischievous plan ;-)
 

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Ron, A long waited story, and a great one! Many thanks for sharing with us. :-! I am wondering how people got settled on those high cliffs of the deep mountains in the first place? Did you check with the villagers their family history? The pictures are so beautiful! The shape of the Taihang mountain are awesome! I should tell you that my first job in life was a mason. I cut big stones into small pieces and they were used to build those houses and roads.:)
 

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Fantastic work on the tunnel..considering it was done by a few amateurs.

I've really enjoyed reading your series of posts on your travels...looking forward to the next installment..
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ron, A long waited story, and a great one! Many thanks for sharing with us. :-! I am wondering how people got settled on those high cliffs of the deep mountains in the first place? Did you check with the villagers their family history? The pictures are so beautiful! The shape of the Taihang mountain are awesome! I should tell you that my first job in life was a mason. I cut big stones into small pieces and they were used to build those houses and roads.:)
Thanks for your work as a mason. The houses have withstood the test of time quite well :)

I didn't ask any questions nor did I take many photos of the folks living there. Everybody was friendly, very friendly in fact, but I just didn't want to intrude very much. Perhaps that was a poor decision because -- like you -- I'd love to know why the village existed in the first place.

I wil say: I'm sure it was always easily defended.
 

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These are by far one of the most amazing photos of China that I've seen; and I've been to quite many places in China that normal tourist do not go. Glad to see that you're really having a great time in China, Ron.
 
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