Opinion / Featured Contributors

Discovering the physical and ethnic diversity of northern Guangdong

Updated: 2017-11-03 07:09 By Bruce Connolly (chinadaily.com.cn)

Discovering the physical and ethnic diversity of northern Guangdong

Bruce(R) dresses in Yao ceremonial costume beside the village head. [Photo by Bruce Connolly/chinadaily.com.cn]

Lianxian, today know as Lianzhou, there was no information in my guidebooks while asking around all I could discover was, "Remote. Far away. Poor, underdeveloped. Be careful!" Nobody seemed to have been there except my friend, her hometown.

Next morning I was in a car with several others as we headed north from Guangzhou towards Qingyuan for lunch aboard a floating restaurant on the North River (beijiang). I would be thankful for that meal as it would be a long time before eating again for an unexpectedly arduous journey awaited.

The low lying plains soon gave way to a steeply rising mountainous landscape peppered with lakes and rivers. As we headed up so trucks coming downhill were loaded with livestock to satisfy the ever growing demands of Guangzhou. A new highway to facilitate the area's move away from remoteness while stimulating investment was under construction. This a feature I remember clearly of Guangdong at that time, creating a modern infrastructure. Good roads while reducing journey time improve accessibility so helping commerce including tourism, hopefully lifting people out of rural poverty. Looking at maps and satellite images on a smartphone today clearly illustrates the considerable level of modern facilities including expressway connectivity now around Lianxian.