After a whole series of tiny villages made out of clusters of at most fifteen buildings, Zhaoxing was in contrast a village of villages having no less than five large drum towers. It was a bustling town by countryside standards, with several itinerant vendors selling farm produce and wild mushrooms.
We entered through one of the three main gates to the village. This gate bears the sign proclaiming that it was the first village of Dong country.
Like many villages, Zhaoxing straddles a stream that provides water for drinking and washing. Clustered along both sides of the river were many houses. Naturally, there were quite a few wooden bridges dotting the river
Here, bridges were not just meant for crossing. As per Dong tradition, bridges were social places for relaxing, chatting and watching village life go by.
Of course, drum towers were very important too. Zhaoxing is deservedly famous for its five grand drum towers. They each have different designs, according to Dong tradition that requires every drum tower to be different. Unfortunately we were drum towered-out and couldn’t be bothered to check out each one.
It didn’t help that the drum towers were rather deserted because the day we arrived was a festival day. People were either busy with the preparations back at home or milling around waiting for the action to start.
We ended up wandering around quite aimlessly, taking in unusual sights, like this one. Probably the whole village’s shoes were drying against this yellow door.
I was incredibly tempted by the wild mushrooms on sale all over town. Willy was uneasy about it but I was quite taken by the idea of wild mushrooms fresh off the forest floor. It was too bad that our guesthouse lady-boss didn’t want to cook wild mushrooms for our dinner. She said that every year at least one villager would die from eating a bad mushroom. Her family didn’t eat them, so we couldn’t either.
That was just too bad, but no mushroom dinner meant that we had time to have a look at the festival in the village.