Out of Eden

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Paul Salopek / Out of Eden

The Beifu Tea Porters

Date: November 14, 2022
Approximate GPS Location: (30.58°N, 104.06°W)

Salopek continues to work his way through the Chinese province of Sichuan.

In his latest dispatch, he tells the story of the beifu, legendary tea porters who shouldered eye-watering loads of black tea on their backs. The beifu slogged their loads through mountain passes on tea trails to Tibet until they were replaced by trucks in the 1950s. “Carrying individual loads as heavy as a modern refrigerator,” these men tackled the Himalayas in sandals, or even barefoot!

In the village of Kang Zhi, Salopek met Wang Shikang, the last living beifu in the village. “I can still feel the pain,” Shikang told him.

Salpoek is accompanied by walking partner Li Huipu for this stretch of his journey. Together they are inching across the vast province, heading north and east.

( 10 ) USER RATING
( 9.9 ) CRITIC RATING

update history

The Gaoligong, a World Away from Modern China

November 18, 2021 // Out of Eden

Salopek Back on His Feet in Yunnan

October 27, 2021 // Out of Eden
Out of Eden

Out of Eden to Resume in China

October 13, 2021 // Out of Eden
Out of Eden

Coup in Myanmar, Salopek Remains in Yangon

February 24, 2021 // Out of Eden

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