Lanxi City: I Found Sweeny Todd in Zhuge Village(1)
2009-04-16 14:12:32 [ Big Normal Small ]     Comment

Lanxi City: I Found Sweeny Todd in Zhuge Village

By Sofia Gronvall

Travelling from one tourist spot to another sometimes makes you wonder about the real China. What if I'm tired of fighting with representatives from the rest of the world? What if I want some alone time, face to face with the real deal? Today I found this in a village far from the hectic city life, at a place where things are allowed to take their time without causing any devastating consequences.

Zhuge Liang is a well known name to most Chinese in today's China. It is also the name of a man who spent many years of his life living at this place, which has generated the title. As a great strategist and statesman during the Three-Kingdoms period (220-265) in ancient China he served as the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Shu in nowadays Southwestern China.

Imagine Greece with its clear blue sky, white buildings and jet black roof tops. Add natives fully occupied doing all those daily chores they have done since beginning of time not affected by neither technical development nor tourism. Finding an expensive set of TV and stereo equipment in the hostess's living room makes me questioning my impression of the village slightly, but I guess watching women washing their clothes by hand whilst men baking bread on a wood stove has that affect.

With or without electronics most of this place has kept its charisma thanks to its architecture. The fading colour from characters painted on the walls complemented by symbols of yin and yang gives every household a unique design, making it necessary for me to bring out the camera every time I round a corner.

Although being such an old place of residence the villagers yet today live life to the fullest. On one of the white walls I see drawings made by children not being forbidden to express their careless sense of creativity. At the same time I see elders walk slowly down the streets, some as if they have fallen into a trance whilst others carefully watch each move I make. In every corner activities are going on and I find that time flies when strolling around between these old facades.

Passing the local hairdresser feels like entering the world of the classic horror musical Sweeny Todd as the walls inside have turned grey with time. Even the chair seems to have the same old-fashioned construction as the one Todd himself used to slice the throat off his costumers.

Every part of this place is intriguing. The inhabitants as well as the palm trees scattered between the dark roof tops are sceneries worth the attention from even the finest of artists. It is my duty as a reporter to advise them in the right direction, and maybe the inspiration found will lead to a Chinese version of Sweeny Todd in the future.


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