A Lunar New Year of Yi Culture, Beauty and Hypersensitive Police
In our last update, Dykes was forced to make a detour due to the river region being impassible with steep cliffs, gorges and dense vegetation. He has reported back that even the detour area was challenging with many 40-45 mile days with 12 hours walking. Despite this, he says that the beauty of the region made up for it, as his photos clearly display.
During the past few weeks Dykes has emphasized how incredible the 'cultural' aspect of this expedition has been. The Yangtze River is now taking him through the southeastern Sichuan province, an area with large numbers of Yi minority people. Their hospitality has been exceptional.
Lunar New Year was on February 5th and a small family took him in, fed him and celebrated the new year.
The region has been particularly tough for Dykes while he limps from painful blisters, and has had to dodge landslides, scramble mountains and make detours. Perhaps most trying has been the hypersensitive police, likely due to the fact that foreigners are so rare here (locals said they had only seen two foreigners before!).
In one incident the police told Dykes to put his hands in the air while they encircled him. In other cases he has been detained in police stations. The situations have forced Dykes to become more stealthy. Through no wrong on his part, the police are simply not used to having a foreigner in the region and will often detain him.
He explains that in total the journey has allowed him to experience a huge amount of culture, tradition and hospitality. Further on Dykes was offered even more Lunar New Year hospitality as well as a place to stay. In one case a 10-year-old girl chased after him for half a mile just to give him some snacks. Despite all of the recent pain and difficulties, Dykes felt that the kindness and hospitality more than made up for it.