I was planning a day excursion to Denang, a small peaceful village two hours north. But I was the only passenger at the bus stop, and they kept cancelling buses. The weather had always been overcast in the morning with a hazy sun in the afternoons, but today it was cold and miserable.

Further away from Fenghuang’s old downtown, the enthusiasm for the old building style evaporates, and Fenghuang becomes one more of these drab Chinese cities that have successfully obliterated their history and culture.

So I went back downtown. Mothers here have tall baskets slung around their backs in which they carry a baby, stuffed with pillows so that only a happy face sticks out like a cherry on a cake. Minority women with tall turbans (some three times the size of the one in the picture) sell souvenirs; it seems that the designation “minority” is more a profession than a heritage. In the evening, they sell paper flowers with a candle in the middle that people float down the river.

All in all, a lazy day.