C'est la vie

Lidiao Is­land

That's China - - The Seascape -

The toil of the is­land’s first gen­er­a­tion of in­hab­i­tants can be wit­nessed to­day by soak­ing in the breath­tak­ing sight of rock faces.

Carve your own ad­ven­ture, by veer­ing off-the beaten-path to ex­plore the un­spoiled beauty of a ‘stone vil­lage’ called Lidiao, lo­cated in the Cen­gang area in the west of the ar­chi­pel­ago’s proper.

Leg­end has it that a stone­cut­ter sur­named Wen liv­ing in the late Ming Dy­nasty of China had to run for his life af­ter of­fend­ing his greedy boss. He took his fam­ily to a de­serted is­land, striv­ing to make a liv­ing by cut­ting slab stones off the rock faces and be­com­ing the first in­hab­i­tant on the is­land.The man hewed out of the moun­tain of de­spair a stone of hope that in­sti­gated the long-stand­ing stone­cut­ting tra­di­tion of the is­land.

The toil of the is­land’s first gen­er­a­tion of in­hab­i­tants can be wit­nessed to­day by soak­ing in the breath­tak­ing sight of rock faces hewn flat and the re­mains of the orig­i­nal slab stone col­lect­ing caves, one of which has been re­made into a well that is still in use.

For ad­ven­tur­ous tourists, pho­tog­ra­phy en­thu­si­asts or just those with a sense of cu­rios­ity, the vil­lage’s stone ar­chi­tec­tural vista is well worth a look.The 1.64-square-meter gourd­shaped is­land is frozen in time, with the stone houses stand­ing like wea­ried sol­diers, weath­ered over time but con­tin­u­ing to up­hold and pro­tect the tra­di­tions of the is­land. Many of the dwellings have been aban­doned, leav­ing the weeds to run riot.There is an eerie feel­ing when walk­ing around the derelict struc­tures, and peer­ing into a dust rid­den wing-room may cause one’s hairs to stand up on the back of their neck.

Like many se­cluded vil­lages across the world, Lidiao Is­land has also seen the younger gen­er­a­tions aban­don­ing the seren­ity for op­por­tu­ni­ties in the city.As the waves of time have lapsed, the stone­cut­ters have van­ished.The days of mak­ing a liv­ing in the teeth of the stormy sea has be­come his­tory. Only 50 to 60 oldies are still liv­ing on the is­land, en­joy­ing a prim­i­tive, iso­lated life­style that is be­yond the imag­i­na­tion of city-dwellers.They are more than happy to show you the way, but are too shy to look into the cam­era lens.

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