When I first arrived in Jianshui, Yunan province, I was surprised by the way locals where looking at me as I was walking in the streets.
When I first arrived in Jianshui, Yunan province, I was surprised by the way locals where looking at me as I was walking in the streets. This is a phenomenon that I had already witnessed in Latin America and that I have experienced again in China. It's more especially the astonished children's innocent gaze towards the foreigners that have moved me the most. I take pleasure in looking at them in their parents' arms until they turn back and stare at me for a few seconds before we share a spontaneous smile.
As I was waiting for a bus in a station I noticed a father and his daughter sat next to me looking and talking about me. I understood that they are focused on the thick layer of hair covering my arms – I should precise here that most Chinese are hairless!I made eye contact and then the father encouraged his daughter to come closer to me. She was hesitating a bit but finally came next to me smiling and very intrigued stocking my arm.
A gesture, a smile or a simple gaze, for travellers children can be an incredible source of content able to break in a very spontaneous and simple way the language barrier that make words exchange so difficult.
China, September 2013