The colors of material most seen around Lijiang take their cues from their origins – the ground. Originally shaped by human hands, now being drilled, ground, chipped, and weathered away, revealing new sets of patterns and colors in the processes. Observing wear patterns can end up a pleasant flavor of icing upon the cake of a well-chosen research site.
Though “downtown” Lijiang is mostly held hostage by tourists and trinket shops, I took a risk and acted on my hunch of the tourism-based economy leading to a nearly non-stop cycle of renovations that must be carried out in very close quarters of the old sector of the city.
Turns out it was fairly ideal for observing a variety of different rural vehicles in action, as the narrow alleys making up this UNESCO heritage site are not quite suitable for the street widening seen elsewhere.