Our conclusion is that WE HAD A WONDERFUL TRIP!!!! We just have a few more stories to tell than we had anticipated. We definitely will return to that part of China.
The guide in Guizhou was a Miao, raised in a poor farm village, and full of great stories. His authenticity really added to the trip. At the end of our week with him, we took him and his new young, english speaking wife (together with the driver and his wife) to dinner. We also invited his wife to join us at the Lushang Festival. We loved the many branches of the Miao and Dong that we met. Many people were very friendly and welcoming. The villages and the countryside were beautiful. A perfect week.
The week in Yunan was also interesting. The guide was Han, so had no direct experience with the minorities. He was knowledgeable, attentive, professional, but a bit dry. The minorities in Yunan (Hani and Sani) were not as open and friendly as the Miao, but that is their nature.
The 5 star hotels were great. The others provided comfortable and quiet accomodations--no major problems except Honghe. Food was simple and tasty. No hygiene or stomach problems.
So, in summary, it was a great trip. We got to know the wonderful Chinese people and countryside so much better. The ultimate summary of the experience came from Akiko---my Tokyo0bred city girl. The day after we got home she said she missed China and wanted to go back---which we will do.
I will send another email with photos.