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Old Comrade Shigu, Yunnan Province, China

The Yangtze river fascinates me. Simon Winchester’s book,  “The River at the Center of the World” , is one of my favorite books. One twelfth (1/12) of the world’s population lives along this river, and it could be argued that the world would be quite different without the life-giving water that flows from the Tibetan Plateau into the heartland of China. As the river plunges out of Tibet, it meets a mountain that causes it to turn almost 180 degrees, giving the water to China, rather than towards Vietnam, and the Red River drainage.  The famous First Bend of the Yangtze figures hugely in Chinese folklore, and it was at Shigu that I met this woman who showed me her precious Chairman Mao medallion, from the Cultural Revolution. She was selling many things, but she would not part with Old Mao. This photo was taken in December of 2008.

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