"Eighteen Oddities" of Yunnan

Yunnan used to be an isolated frontier region in China. Yet, 25 ethnic minority groups reside there. Meanwhile, Yunnan boasts of different climatic zones. The great differences in folk customs and climatic diverse in Yunnan always made newcomers find them strange and can't understand. As a result, the 18 oddities which are actually descriptions about Yunnan, gained its popularity among the ordinary people. With the development of communications and economy, some of the oddities about Yunnan have become things of the past; however, they present a glimpse of this fascinating land. The 18 oddities are as follows:

1: Eggs Are Sold By Bundle

People who live on some hilly areas bundle up eggs vertically with straws and take the bundle to the market for sale. The tradition is still prevalent in some areas of Yuanyang, Luchun and Jinping etc.

2: Trains Go Abroad But Not Inland China

Yunnan's first railway was built between 1901 and 1910, which goes from Kunming to Hanoi, Vietnam. At that time, the Kunming-Hanoi railway was the only railway in Yunnan.

3: Young Girls Called "Old Lady"

In some areas of Yunnan, local people pronounce “young girl” and “old lady” the same. In inland China, the pronunciation only has the meaning of young girl.

4: Pies Called "Erkuai"

Erkuai is a local snack. It is in the shape of thin pies with the raw material of rice. It can be boiled, fried, or braised.

5: Straw Hat Used as Wok Lid

In the countryside of south Yunnan, many farmers use hat-looking straw wok lids woven by local artisans. Owing to bad communications, local people make full use of materials easily available.

6: Stone Grows in the Clouds

The rocks in the famous scenic spot of "Stone Forest" in Yunnan look as if stalagmites sprung up from underground. After 270 million years of growing, these rocks took their shapes of towering peaks.

7: Rain in the East but Sunshine in the West

Because of the high altitude and low latitude in Yunnan, the climate is greatly changeable, and the rain comes and goes quickly.

8: Grasshoppers Make a Delicious Dish

The grasshopper is a delicacy. Usually, the grasshoppers are stir-fried. It turned out to be crispy and aromatic.

9: Fresh Flowers Served as Vegetables

According to botanists, there are more than 160 species of edible flowers on the local people' diet. The flowers often need to be kept in water for some time before cooking, but the ways to cook them are not different from the vegetables.

10: The Same Clothes for All Four Seasons

Kunming, capital city of Yunnan, is known as “spring city” for its mild climate in all four seasons and most areas around Kunming share the same climate. People may wear the same dress in different seasons.

11: Bamboo Pipe Used for Smoking

The smoking pipe is very common in the countryside in Yunnan. It is usually made of bamboo with a small tube fitted into the lower part of the pipe. When smoking, the pipe is filled with water, and a gurgling sound is heard.

12: Water and Fire Worshiped as Gods

The worship of water and fire has been a long tradition among the ethnic minorities. Water is the source of life, which sustains the people. With fire, people get warmth and brightness. Being closely related to myths and legends, water and fire are widely worshiped.

13: Toes Exposed All Year Round

In some poor mountainous areas, people wear straw-woven shoes with the front parts open, so the toes are exposed. Meanwhile, because of the nice climate, people wear the shoes all year round.

14: People Sing Rather Than Talk

Among many ethnic minorities in Yunnan, people like to show hatred, love, grief, and happiness by singing. When working in the field, or in everyday life, people always like to sing. Young couples often got engaged in singing competitions.

15: Children Taken Care of By Men

In some areas of Yunnan, women are hard-working and do the harder work of the household, while men stay at home taking care of children.

16: Grannies Climb Mountains Faster Than Monkeys

Because the women work hard since very young age, they are trained to be athletic, women even in their 70s and 80s can climb mountains as if walking on flat land.

17: Monks Can Be in Love with Woman

In Yunnan's bordering areas, where the Hinayana Buddhism is prevalent, men can go back to the secular life to get married after some period of practicing in the temple.

18: Houses built in the Air

In the subtropical areas in south Yunnan, where it is humid and rainy, local houses were stilted. The wind coming from all directions circulates under the house. Thus it's cool and dry to live in.