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Laowai @Chongqing Takes Overseas Guests on Exciting Tour of Maliuzui Town

By James AlexanderICHONGQING|Jul 20,2020

Chongqing- On July 18, the 2020 Banan District Laowai @Chongqing series of events on intangible heritage and rural experiences entered Maliuzui Town.

Eleven overseas friends admired the oldest ficus virens tree in Chongqing, learned about the intangible heritage behind Maliuzui lotus leaves, and experienced the unique charm of the Chongqing countryside during a plum picking activity.

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The Foreign guests of Laowai @Chongqing take a group photo before the famous 800 year old ficus virens tree in Maliuzui Town.

Tian Maogui, a local of Renheqiao Village, Maliuzui Town, explained how the ficus virens tree is over 800 years old, and is now a nationally protected ancient tree. It is the oldest among the first batch of ancient trees listed for protection in the city. The standard age for such listing is 500 years.

How thick is this tree? Nabi Tariku from Ethiopia couldn’t help but call on his friends to join hands and measure its ‘waist circumference.’ In the end, even six people could not surround the tree in a single chain. ‘It’s amazing. Playing games under this tree must be a lot of fun.’ Continued Nabi Tarek in admiration.

The name Maliuzui is said to originate from the mid-16th century, when many willow trees (Mailiu) were planted in the area. Also, the town is located by a cliff about 20 meters high along the Yangtze River with ditches running either side, forming the shape of a mouth (Zui), hence the name Maliuzui.

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Overseas friends in Chongqing try to form a human chain around the giant ficus virens tree in Maliuzui Town, Banan District.

The Maliu lotus leaf is part of the intangible heritage of Chongqing. In Sichuanese folk opera formed around the end of the Qing Dynasty, the musical cymbals hang down from red silk and resemble this lotus stem.

Li Ming and Lai Yunxia performed a representative musical piece eulogizing the Maliu lotus leaf for foreign friends, as they held a cymbal and sandalwood board in their left hand, while striking the cymbal accompaniment with a bamboo stick in the right.

Hwa Jaehyeon from South Korea was very interested in the act. After the performance, he was the first to rush onto stage to try for himself. Under the guidance of the cultural inheritor Li Ming, he picked up the instruments and gave a witty impromptu to rounds of applause.

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Korean guest Hwa Jaehyeon tries out a traditional cymbal performance.

At this time of year, the plum orchards of Maliuzui Town are full of ripe, mouth-watering fruit. This is where Laowai @Chongqing organized an exciting plum picking contest.

The foreign guests carried baskets around the plum orchard as they raced against time to pick the rich and juicy fruit. Everyone’s faces beamed with smiles as they looked for the best plumbs they could find.

‘The countryside in Banan is really beautiful, and the fruits here are delicious. I’d love to stay here all the time.’ English guest Callum Snell couldn’t help but say.

Finally, the foreign guests sat down to write a dairy account of the day trip. ‘I won first place in the plum picking contest, and I feel great. I hope the plums continue to grow well so that the income of farmers can increase.’ Wrote An Honggyeol from South Korea.

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The final experience in Maliuzui Town was plum picking in a local orchard.

Remaining events from Laowai@Chongqing

Below are the proposed dates and locations of upcoming events themed on intangible cultural heritage and rural traditions. There are 20 places available for foreign guests in each event and are free of charge.

Overseas residents interested in attending one or more events may contact Mr. He Liujin at bntqw@126.com, or by telephone 66231839 (English available).

July 25th – Longzhouwan Area and Yudong Area

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