Shaxi is the gateway to Tibet ,the last town between Dali and Tibet also is one of the key point alone the old Tibetan road down to connect south Asia ,its located in the south part of of its head town Jianchuan ,mountains in Shaxi is also the extension parts of Himalaya mountain ranges.the average altitude is 2000m ,the valley is surrounded on four sides by green mountains ,Black muddy river flow though the rich, flat, farming lands like a silver long scarf .there are 5 ethnic groups live here the Bai ,Naxi,Lisu,Han and Yi ,there are 65 villages with only about 20000 inhabitants.
Before 1952 no roads are built from this part to Tibet ,the only transportation means for goods and trading was horse caravan on earthly trails .therefore Shaxi is also view as the only surviving market town on the tea and horse caravan trail.
2 kinds of caravan groups ,one works for government, the other is made of individual trading group.the caravan groups could be teamed up by their ethnic identity as well as their believes ,such groups as Muslim caravan group.Bai caravan group etc .it could be teamed up as where they are from originally ,such as Shaxi caravan group ,Deqin group .
In this particular organization 3 persons are in charge .they are the head leader ,the vice leader and the manager .to be a head leader one must need to know very well about goods trading alone the trails ,includes local products from different regions ,pricing as well as handful of social network .who are also capable of dealing with different caravan groups,government officers ,local inn runners or whoever you may encountered along the long trip .he also needs to know everything about trails conditions ,rest stops ,bridges etc like back of his palm .while the leader is away then the vice leader became his replacement .the manager dealt with expenses such as incomes and outcomes ,he acts like a finance manager in all .
The rest of the people in such a groups are horse man.one horse man may take care of 4 horses .one caravan group consists 5 horse man as a unit
Lots of these groups contently travel to north part of Tibet ,west part of Burma and south Thailand .oftern such a journey would cross different ethnic groups in different territories ,and every part you came across all speak different languages.there is a such leader in dali from the past used to travel up to WEIXI ,he was able to speak Bai,Han,Naxi,Yi,Tibetan languages to assure no matter where his group went they could have a smooth journey .
The caravan culture disappeared long ago due to the roads developments in SW Yunnan .but the footprint of these great horse groups and its very trails are still stands somewhere still beyond the face of time .one day you can go out there and see it with your owns eyes .this is probably the charm of history combined with travel ,it awaits us for more discovery and connections with the long gone past .
Enjoy your reading !