Ewenki, my deer!
I arrived in Genhe. Due to the snow storm I almost lost the feelings of my hands and feet on the road. As I ask for a room in the hotel I can’t speak any Chinese word properly (not that I ever could). Good that I found a hotel with bath room to take a hot shower. And so did my bike.
The Ewenki Minority
The next morning the younger sister of the hotel owner in Alongshan and her husband picked me up from the hotel. The destination is the nearby Olguya village of the Ewenki.
The Ewenki is a nomadic people officially recognized as one of the 56 minorities in China. They are native to areas in Russia, Mongolia and China and are specialised in reindeer herding as well as hunting and fishing. A minority that has almost completely vanished in China. Only few dozens of families are still existing today as the locals say. From some people I hear that there are only a hand full of descendants and so the Ewenki gets heavily supported by the government to continue their heritage. In the village of Olguya lots of new wooden houses were built to preserve the culture. Inside lots of reindeer fur, horns and birch carvings. Unfortunately I don’t get in touch with the ethnic minority people. Everybody went out for collecting herbs in the forest.
There is a nearby museum about the Ewenke, but only open from June when the travel season starts and many visitors come to the small village. Near Olguya we continue the trip with a visit of a nearby camp site in the forest. Despite I have my doubts whether this place was ever inhabited by the Ewenke minority or rather has been built up from scratch. But at least now it’s a tourist attraction that gives a small insight into the life of this tiny minority.
Back to the city we have some amazing hotpot with tender sheep meet and fish. The combination sounds interesting but is really tasty. Could that be the reason why the Chinese character for ‘fresh’ consists of the characters for fish and sheep put together?
I continued the day with a stroll over the local market, an interview with a retired sunflower seeds vendor and some square dance with the party people of Genhe. And finally in the evening, i met three guys of Ewenke origin, maintaining the place I just visited during that day.