• James Tam 谭炳昌

Xishuangbanna 西双版纳 (2) — Ancient Tea Mountains 古茶園

Updated: Apr 15


Dusk at Jing Mai Shan 景邁山暮色

Inside Jing-Mai Shan (Shan means Mountain) is one of the oldest natural tea plantations in Yunan Province with over 1800 years of history according to Bu Lang Tribe records.


The Bu Lang plant tea trees at the fringe of the forest with minimal disturbance to the flora and fauna, just as their forebears had done for nearly two millennia. To ancient farmers, protecting the natural environment upon which they depend for food and survival is just common sense and self-preservation, not delusional “magnanimity” towards pitiful Mother Earth.


There are no fences or spray painted logos around the tea trees. The farmers recognise which tree belongs to who. The ability to tell trees apart might seem incredible to some, but it’s actually quite easy, provided one has nominal vision and intelligence. 景邁山是雲南最古老的茶園之一。根據布朗族的記錄,大概有一千八百年的歷史。


今天的布朗族茶農,仍然依照古老傳統,栽培茶樹時盡量不騷擾大自然的一草一木。古老民族都比較清楚生我養我者最終是天然環境,不是超級市場。對大地母親敬畏愛護乃生存之道。「環保」並非時尚,更不應該被顛倒為人類對唯一生存環境的「恩賜」。


誰家種的茶樹,族人都互相認得,無需加圍欄或記號。


Lakeside at Jing Mai Shan 景迈山的湖畔风光

We had a fabulous lunch — extremely fresh and well cooked — at a tea chateau.


After lunch, the owner gave a demonstration on how newly picked tea leaves are processed.


However, I was distracted by his boy toying with two dead birds. Watching him squeezing the squashy and feathery carcasses was oddly peaceful and soothing. Though fragile urbanites who prefer their bespectacled children massacring electronic enemies on handheld devices might cringe at the thought.


REALLY good cooking starts with kitchen design... 要弄得一手好菜,先从厨房的设计开始...

First round dehydration is hand-fried 茶是用手炒的

Kneading of fresh tea leaves 揉茶

往景邁山途中,我們在山腳的一家茶莊午膳。很久沒吃過這樣新鮮可口的農家菜了。我比平常多吃了幾倍分量。


飯後,茶莊老闆示範炒茶和揉茶。我卻被他兒子手中的「玩具」所分心。看著他撫弄兩頭雀屍,真的十分過癮。但不少香港人聯想到禽流感三個字便會反射性胸口作悶,口吐白沫。他們可能情願自已的孩子小鼻梁托上眼鏡,在手機瘋狂濫殺電子妖怪打發童年。


Little boy with his favourite birds 小朋友和他的两只爱雀

Many people have a beehive at home 很多人都在家里自已养蜂

Terrace Fields Near A Wa Shan 往阿佤山途中的梯田

Woman slightly out of focus 对焦稍微失准的山地妇女

A vigilant roadside vendor 帮妈妈手在公路边摆卖的小姑娘

Organic Childhood 有機童年

A Dai Monk seeking enlightenment through social media 傣族僧人尝试經微信悟道

A Dai stockaded village 傣族寨村

Solar panels are everywhere, making a big difference 寨村四處可見的太陽能

Next stop was A-Wa Shan, where the once headhunting Wa Tribe originated.


After the revolution in 1949, they quit the time-honoured tradition of cutting off others’ heads, in order to keep their own on the neck. I wonder if new-age missionaries who have attained enlightenment through capitalism regard the authoritative ban an infringement on native heritage.


Anyways, sacrificial killing of cows has continued. Their sacred site Long Mo Ye is thronged with bovine skulls affixed to trees and the hillside, creating a bewitching sight. Fortunately, most animal-rightists are from cow eating nations. Had the Wa rite called for the heads of fluffy pooches or purring Siamese, liberal journalists who love all wars and non-human animals might have a field day pointing fingers at “barbaric China”. 下一站阿佤山是佤族的聚居地。佤族一直到1949年還有獵頭的習慣。解放後可能為了保護自己的頭顱,放棄了這個有千多年歷史的傳統。


當年的西方傳教士,大概也會偶爾被抓來祭神。不知道他們的繼承人,經資本主義悟道後,會否認為共產黨的獵頭禁令違反了「宗教自由」呢?反正人頭已經很久不獵了,但牛頭仍然是主要祭品。不少民居都以牛頭骨作為裝飾。


在著名的「龍摩爺聖地」,樹身和山邊掛滿了無數牛頭,有些令人毛骨悚然。幸好他們犧牲的是牛,而西方人最愛吃牛,動物維權人士和好戰傳媒亦不例外。假如阿佤祖先當初規定殺的是小花貓或小黃狗,那麼整個中國又可能會被大事宣傳為「野蠻國度」了。


Totem at the roof of every house 每家每户屋顶上的图腾

Another tribe, the La Hu, have cohabited with the once fierce Wa along Lan Chang River for many centuries. Their ancestors were northern nomads who had migrated southwards eons ago, and settled in the Lan Chang area.


Although La Hu means Tiger Hunter in their language, they are now gentle Chinese hobbits comparing with the spirited Wa. La Hu sway softly in the wind when dancing, celebrating harvest and praising woodchopping lads, whereas the Wa swing their heads wildly, twirling long hair to ferocious thumping of big drums.


Most mountain dwellers tend to be small in stature, and are great singers and dancers. Singing and dancing are still their primary forms of entertainment amidst the foggy hills, even in this age of telecommunication. 與佤族長期在瀾滄江流域共處的民族之一是拉祜族。雖然拉祜是「獵虎者」的意思,但比強悍的佤族要溫純。


山地人的身材一般比較矮小,就算在互聯網無孔不入的今天,仍然保留了熱愛歌舞的傳統。佤族跳的甩發舞,渾身是勁,大概可以強頸練頭。拉祜的民族舞則主要表現豐收打穀,養雞伐木等充滿山地氣息的生活小品。


A junior Lahu Tribe "Sheng" player 拉祜族的小笙手

Little La Hu Girls 拉祜族小姑娘

La Hu Elderly 拉祜族父老

La Hu father and baby, probably 大概是拉祜爸爸和小寶寶吧

Off-season Lotus Pond 殘荷掠影

Lone survivor 冬日荷塘死剩種

Link to Next Episode: Yourantai 鏈接到下一節悠然台


In the middle of busy Jing Hong at the border with Laos is You Ran Tai. The exquisite retreat was designed and built by Swiss biologist Gerard, aka Lao Bo, and his Taiwanese wife Lynn during 2003-2005. They turned a dying rubber plantation into an urban paradise which makes every first visitor “wow!” upon entering.


在熱鬧的景洪鎮中心,我遽然踏進了「悠然台」,第一個反應是「哇!」。

這特殊的度假勝地由一位名叫老博的瑞士人和她的台灣太太親自設計施工。他們在2003到2005期間,把一個快將倒閉的橡膠園變成了今天的世內桃源,未見過簡直不能相信!

Link to previous episode (Meng Zhe Market) 鏈接到上一篇(勐遮市场)

#Photos #Xishuangbanna #西双版纳 #摄影

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