Shared publicly  - 
 
Wi-fi before roads

I am staying in this small village in a Yao minority-tribe region of China. I had to walk an hour up the mountain to arrive here since there are no roads to this village. But by golly they have pretty good wi-fi! Many other parts of China are without toilets, but they have excellent cell phone coverage. People value communication over many other necessities.

We are surrounded by amazing rice terraces, another classic image from China. These terraces require an immense amount of hand-work to maintain their form and function. They erode quickly without constant patching up. And farming rice on them takes yet more work -- much more than growing rice on large farms. These terraces took a thousand years to create; but I predict they will be gone -- overgrown and disintegrating -- in 100 years. No one will want to keep them up, unless the government simply pays them as a tourist attraction. I hope they do since these structures are stunning.
863
188
tim h lin's profile photoGoran Starčević's profile photoashwani sharma's profile photoRanjeet Kumar's profile photo
333 comments
 
China is amazing. I recall crossing the Gobi desert -- and never once losing mobile connectivity!
 
fun to imagine what these terraces could be replanted with when the rice goes away
 
+Kevin Kelly, re: neccesities vs. communication: Don't you think it might just be more a case of it being easier to roll out wifi/cell phone coverage over large areas than laying physical pipes for plumbing and sewage?
 
Maintaining those terraces looks like an incredible amount of work.
 
Or perhaps they already have the types of toilets they're used to.
 
+Kevin Kelly Cell phone coverage in China never ceases to amaze me. Even at 14,000ft up a mountain in Sichuan, I had a full signal.

Re the terraces, my son went on a school trip last year to a village in south-west China, one of their tasks when there was to help the village that hosted them shore up their rice terraces with cement. Apparently the rice paddies double up as fish ponds. Very efficient use of resources.
 
Better than Vegas. Should mention it's all behind the great Firewall though. So not easy to read the news back home. 
 
3Q for sharing fantastic pictures.
 
i miss the simple life.
 
Most people value communication. Communication is a basic need that is unique in its complexity in humans. What is peculiar is how more and more people are choosing communication by a cell phone or computer over face to face communication. Conversation is becoming a lost art. If you gather a group of 15 year old adolescents at the grand canyon they will have their heads down on their iPhones.
 
I have always been fascinated by these terraces, they are beautiful in the landscape and one can clearly see they take a lot of work. I had not realised some were shored up with cement, however. Thanks for an interesting share +Kevin Kelly
 
As a German I see the deep problem, that German politicians still invest in "infrastructure" by building roads, they yet fail to understand how much communication is the new infrastructure and has to be treatet as careful as roads. In case of scarce money this can mean, build a road less and plenty of net infrastructure instead. I hope they will get this some time.
 
pretty landscape :3 china always has like a pattern lol
 
This reminds me of Northern Vietnam... I have not crossed over to the China side, but spent a few weeks in that region last year... Absolutely stunning! Nothing like renting a motorbike and driving slowly through the mountains. Sometimes tough to get a good snap due to the fog, but this one is beautiful!
 
As I remember, all 3 GSM-CDMA provider also offer /paid/ but very nice wifi coverage. It is a very nice thing, beside the 3G
 
If they have been there for a thousand years i would bet on another thousand. Home grown rice means survival.
 
really nice place, wanna share it some where else.
 
Mmm, you can just smell all that wonderful WiFi :)

PS awesome post man
 
The third world in general has pretty good wireless communication. Where we in the "first world" went through various steps of cabled access they are jumping directly to mobilephones and wifi. It's a lot cheaper and more convinient. They generally dont worry about packet loss, latency or the likes.

In africa cellphones are even being used to wire money from the husbond who often works far from his wife and kids. He wires the money by buying a prepaid card and sending the code to his wife using text/sms. She can then barter it around the village for food or services.
 
My farm has them on all low lying areas they were put in during depression to create work nd save soil by the wpa and ccc

woody
 
Nice picture, but the people there are not easy
 
I love the sight there, looks so peaceful and calm!!!
 
Gorgeous and remote part of the world! Thanks for sharing! Goes to show how technology is king.
 
I'll have to pay it a visit while I'm in China. Should be here for the next few years so that won't be hard. Great picture too :) ye, mobile coverage is great in China but each city has their own sim cards.
 
tourist bring money. tourist don't mind roughing it as long as they can check their email and catch up on survivor. and the folks in the village are just happy to see outsiders. what a world. the photos are amazing though!!
 
Exccellent picture there.can you speak chinese?
 
imagines giant slinky tumbling down the terraces
Amazing view.
 
+Frank Nestel some time by german political standards usually means one to two decades from now. We are not as used to big disruptive leaps as China is.
 
Communication is a necessity.people are always keen to know whats on the other side.They have te distant bushes for toilet.
bg cm
+
1
2
1
 
as long as properly disposed and made fertilizer, maybe okay? but the designs of the rice fields catch my attention. it looks like the legendary RICE TERRACES of IFUGAO MOUNTAIN in the Philippines?
 
Enjoy your stay in China. I've been there 5 times and looking forward to the 6th time, when I get a chance.
 
wooww!!!!...beuutifuull....:-)
 
my name is lamin from gambia i see you on my box i can see you are so kean and i one to be frien weet you maryan pelland and have a good day.
 
amazing.
i would hate it if they ruined it with roads.
lear xu
 
aha~CHINA~terrace
lear xu
 
那是梯田吧~
Translate
 
it`s good that they could save the nature and also save their connect with the univers
 
Wow 80 comments on a post this pointless and stupid
POINT BLANK: u guys have no lives
 
you Lili,you should change your mind...
 
agree 100% as WI-FI can bring roads faster every time everywhere, sustainabily
 
Whatever ur name is u should stop talking to me
 
really i love village & this village is very nice...
 
The human race has a ubiquitous connection with technology,
 
if you (mark anthony villalon) ever speak to anyone about me or my child to anyone again, you will hear thunder like you have never heard before! life is very short DEVIL DOG
 
Thank you for the amazing picts and for sharing the history.
 
Is there any Chinese pretty girl at least 1 girl in those small village ?
cause i'm curious ^.^v
 
awesome.... no toilet but good in cell phone coverage.... a little bit weird..
 
My son is a keen Arsenal supporter (thats soccer to you), and when he was in a small village in northern Thailand he was able to watch them play on Sky TV in a bar with no electric supply or running water. Solar power TV, satellite dish.
 
Thats a landscape that has looked that way for many years yet they have modern hidden technology......Great stuff.)
 
go figure. communication makes the world go round... but not toilets going down .... :-)
Jay Ray
+
1
2
1
 
THAT IS REALLY COOL!!!
 
beutieful sceanery
 
not gooooooooooooooooooooooooooood
 
wow, beautiful, worth the trek up for sure
 
China Mobile coverage is great even in the mountain areas, but China Unicom isn't so good.
 
Wow,Very beautiful over there
 
we also have that here in the Philippines....
 
i like china very much.......:) :) :)
your village is so nice.........
pleasant weather........
superbbbbbbbbbb.....
 
Same in the case of India, recent survey says there are people living without a toilet but has a Mobile, credits to these scams that brought us every thing cheap wrt communication :P
 
I thought Google & social networking is banned in China!!!!!
 
It is but you can use a proxy to access websites.
 
no toilets but great coverage... i would do the same. and thats why america is wack we spend money on things like roads and building codes that r enforced. we should take a page from chinas book and simplify to save money!!!!!!
 
no toilets but get in there and put that fiber optic in the ground boys
 
oh google is not banned but google + is.
Google does however randomly stop working sometimes.
 
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:p
 
Farhad, don't you mean: Veryyyyyyyyyyyy rice?
 
A friend who is Chinese said that the government found that cellular and wifi were easier to deploy than building conventional infrastructure. They see this is the way of the future and are expanding to every corner of China.
 
that is beautiful,reminds me of some seen's that i saw while in vietnam.
 
There no open wifi connection even in the capital city here
 
... but is there anyone using the wi-fi? I mean, yeah great to have, but do they have smartphones and computers as well?
 
yes wi-fi connections in India r mostly restricted to institutions coffee shops office premises etc.. such wide open farming lands wid wi-fi is jst amazing
 
it really is curious what people define as "necessary". crazy indeed.
 
i wish i could go there... warm & wifi! two perfect combinations!
 
What is the exact name for that type of landscape?
 
kaas ye daulat khana hamara hota.....................
 
dont you have to pay for the wirless network to get it ? :D
 
Wi-fi would definitely be my top priority!
 
Yes I know I have been there, just two foot pads and a hole!
 
And because of that I'm not going back! Dan it is a rice paddy field terraced.
 
worthwhile going there, walking up and back again!
The food is excellent, too.
I'll be there again in the not to far future.
 
Wow. I think that we need to start takeing in our surroundings and think about are actions toward the Earth. We only have one home and that one home is on the verge of being destroyed.We only live once. So we need to make a difference while we are still here.
 
that is so pretty! how is it like there? i've never been there!
 
i am Chinese, i cant agree with the opinion wifi before road.
 
All I can say is they got their priorities straight!
 
Those rice terraces look amazingly beautiful,yet,first time to see&know about themm.much appreciated.thnx
Tian Li
 
This is a very famous region in Yunnan province, China. Each year, many photographers go there to take pictures. My co-worker just came back from the trip. His picture taken at Yuan Yang had won top prize from National Geographic. They formed a park and charge fees for people entering there. Sadly, the money go to the Hong Kong developer, not benefit the locals. Local people still live a poor life there.
 
so you live in a small village
 
I'd take wifi and cell coverage over more expensive plumbing and roads. Sounds like a smart bunch.
 
after all it is the information age, not the industrial age ; ) haha
 
Beautiful Place! but which area?
 
Wow! beautiful place .....its in India
 
oh may god,thats very nice!!!!!!!!
 
Really nice rural image....love the composition here.
 
incredible place what is it
 
This is one of the few advantages of socialism. The mobile companies are owned by the state. Like any other big projects in China, if the government wants something, there will be something. It won't like the commercial enterprises, it there is no profitable enough, they won't invest on it. But the biggest three mobile companies in China earned more $ 65 millions a day last year.
 
Wow, talk about Leftwing racism; do any of the posters here give a Damn about the quality of life PEOPLE who "enjoyed" such amazing cell phone coverage?
Why isn't the disparity between sanitation infrascructure (vital to the people) and communication infrastructure (vital to the gov for control and income) as a starting point for outrage instead of admiration?
 
+Raj Bhoyedhur seriously? Are you unawarebof the role of sanitation in disease prevention? Can you cure cholera with a cell phone?
 
I wish every gushing admirer of this scene would try living there for a year... On a local income!
 
+Mahssa Gh why should the toil of dead ancestors enslave the living to a brutal, hopeless life?
 
Beautiful. I have been to similar place. Surprise it has wifi
a Gall
 
;-) I love these countryside
 
very beautiful. thanks for sharing. Rice sounds good to eat right now :)
 
chinese love technology than necessities...
 
Stunning picture. Beautiful nature, I wish that I could live somewhere like this :(
 
..น่าจะเป็นการทำนาขั้นบันไดที่มหัศจรรย์แห่งหนึ่งของจีน...คงใช้เวลานานพอดู..!
Translate
 
beautifull.......................!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
i don't know what is more pathetic here - someone with the opportunity to be in China leading out with a knock at Chinese society followed by a positive comment, passive aggressive? OR the multitudes of comments about how wonderful the picture is. If this is the first time you have been introduced to China - your living under a rock. If your in China - then take the time to present relevant history or cultural discovery as it shows itself. meh /end rant
 
Toilets are not a big necessaties for the vilaagers man.........they love nature and do everythign with nature itself
 
It reflects materialistic approach, roads don't pay off to the stakeholders, communication investment does, simple equation.
 
And yet soding at&t keeps dropping my connection here in a major city
 
Communication have come a long way and is still going and will be going
 
They need to get toilets for yaw sad thing
 
True. Just try to go just one day without yours and you start going through withdrawals, like a powerful drug. I hate to admit it ,but I am totally addicted. But, I am NOT alone ...
I WK
 
Another reason why the rice terraces might be gone soon is that the farmers hardly earn a living with hard work and young edicated people for example in an IT company in ChenChen earn much more in one year than they do in a lifetime ...
 
at least we'll have your pictures to reminisce the old days when these terraces are gone.
 
that naruto icon that kub guy has is cool
 
I had the same experience in India recently. There was a dirt road, and we could not get the car to where we were going, but the 4 year-old kid in the village was playing games on a smartphone.
 
This panoramic view looks like the famous Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines which is considered by many as 8th-world wonder. Nice shot, though...
 
Great shot have to say and a life that I will never know. About Wi-Fi in this picture I can see how easy it is to get a great reception via Wi-Fi communications.

One more thing, its not so bad to live a bit rough its soul building yo! ;-)
 
U cross the wall to get on Google plus? Hah
chad o
 
How much does it cost to setup wifi, or cellphone service compared to the cost of a road?
 
Never been to China but you are in beautiful part of that country! I want to see more! Keep taking pictures!! Please?
 
did i not see this view in "the last samurai"?
 
thanks for sharing such lovely pictures ;)
 
cool ! a part of china with air that wont break your fall!
 
Wi-fi in a remote Chinese village? Haha...now that's niiice :)
 
Throw in a few composting toilets, use that manure to fertilize those terraced fields, and light the streets with lovely bioluminescent plants, and you would be sitting in a nearly ideal 21st century green community.
 
If this whole network system is working......then its amazing.
for other a good example....Good Sharing.....Thanks
Cheers!
 
darn chinese
littles slinted eyes cant even see wat is happeinin
 
this is very true, I am a american who lives and works in China and i have better internet connections in the rural areas I work in than in Hong Kong!!
 
Excuse me +frankie jacob ? My Chinese friend has bigger eyes than many Americans!!! And Chinese people have good eyesight cuz we don't ruin it with video games! I have 20/20 eyesight!
 
I like it.......................
 
I've no idea about Yao minority. Just guess the scenery is awesome n the air is fresh out there, which is totally different from the metropolitains like Beijing n China. A pretty nice place to visit.
 
Huh, u just mentioned something especially critical here in China. People, especially the gov, seem more eagerly spending money on high-expense stuff, rather than the low-cost basic needs, this makes the gap between rich and poor bigger and bigger.
 
I hope they don't. I hope there's some private hotel o theme park that does, but not the government. PLEASE not the government.
 
It seems that soon the defenition of basic needs would change to data connectivity from food and shelter :-)
 
Well that's good that they have good wifi! I'd love to stay there. I can't live without internet lol.
Chan Li
 
You , in China ? Fascinating !
 
it's great bt i also wanna stay there.
 
I wonder if they have a better selection on HULU and Netflix too!  I mean that's where you can find all the pirated software and movies, right? just saying....
Add a comment...