A Party at the Linden Centre: A Reflection
On April 14, 2018 we held a Crafts Fair and Organic Market event in collaboration with Chai Mi Duo at the Linden Centre: Bao Cheng Fu. Chai Mi Duo is an organic farm and restaurant located in Dali Old Town that is known for its Saturday market events and monthly fairs held on their farm.
One of our attendees kindly sent us her beautifully written reflections on the event, so without further ado, I’ll let Linda take it away:
“This is my third week in Dali, a place giving me surprises every day. Among them, the party held in the Linden Commons is no doubt the biggest one. I have a new understanding of Dali, Xizhou, the Linden Centre, the people and the life here.
First, the cultural diversity and tolerance in Xizhou impresses me. Living in big cities throughout my life, I used to believe that multicultural experiences only exist in metropolitan cities. The market in the Linden Commons shows me the perfect combination of eastern culture and western culture, local culture and new culture happening in Xizhou, a small town. The harmony and beauty of the diversity attract people coming to the place, pausing and wondering, savoring her unique charisma.
Wandering in the historical building, The Linden Commons, and listening deeply the old stories the building is trying to tell, I see a photography exhibition by Zhazha Yang in the middle of the inner courtyard. There are photos of people from all parts of the world, religions and beliefs, including local people, Muslim, westerners and people from other parts of the country. Their lives will never have overlap without Xizhou, a magic place bringing all dreams and stories together, like a mini melting pot. As a result, more and more people from all over the world are attracted by Xizhou.
I used to live in US for four years and have been to many places. This market brings an unforgettable and unique experience due to the perfect combination of food, culture and lifestyle. Here, people not only drink tea, but also learn the culture behind it, such as tea production, tea brewing, tea arts and tea ceremony. In addition, people not only eat tasty foods, but also learn how to grow food in an organic way, the reasons why it’s important to support biodynamic agriculture. All of them including the organic farm and food, the freshly squeezed juice, the aromatic coffee, are delivering a message: The secret of high-quality foods and art crafts lies in devotion, passion and persistence. I receive the message after tasting the fresh strawberry from Caitian Farm. Isn’t the spirit of Xizhou as well?
Second, people here keep their uniqueness and difference, but at the same time, they respect each other and open their hearts to communicate. Trust and friendship can be built among people who meet each other for the very first time. I meet two ladies from US when we are drinking tea. It’s such a coincidence that they are living in the city where I used to be. We talked about Chicago, Dali, Xizhou, tea and career etc.
“In a small market, I see the whole world. This is the beauty of it!”
After the tea party, we say goodbye and continue our own ways. This kind of unexpected encounter happens every day here. As Forest Gump said, life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.
In another courtyard, local people are demonstrating the blue-dye clothes. My fingers feel the clothes, imaging I am in mother nature. This may be the so-called synchronicity of human and nature. It is said that these clothes are not only good for the skin but also served as repellent against insects. Here, clothes are more than a fashionable trend. They are the arts nourishing the body and soul. Behind every piece of clothes are the wisdom and love passed by the ancestor. Further down to the courtyard, a big backyard shows up. A lady, sitting on a chair and holding a guitar, is playing countryside music. Immersing into the beautiful sunshine, people are talking, laughing and enjoying the foods. The air is full of freedom and love. This is a special moment for Xizhou and for everyone.”
Text by Linda Li
Photography by Hai Yi Duan & Xiao Long Ge