Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dave and Di Take A Hike....A Loooong Hike!

Morning came early for these two travelers, we had an 8:00 am pickup at our hotel for a 3 hour drive to the Longshen Rice Terraces and Yao and Zhuang Minority villages.

Our guide Amy had other clients scheduled today but she arranged for her friend Sally to take us, and Amy’s son “Jake” was our driver.  Amy even came with them to pick us up so she could introduce us.  We sure lucked out when we found Amy.

It was a long drive to Longshen, but we enjoyed visiting with Sally.  Her English was very good and she easily answered our many questions.  We drove about half way, and Jake was thoughtful and stopped for a bathroom break.  This was an interesting experience!  A new kind of “potty”--no doors, just one long trough running through the space. Each stall was partitioned on the sides, but no doors on the front--good thing I’m not too modest!

Back on the road, we drove for another hour or so and then turned off the highway and started up a steep and winding road.  There were many blind corners and switchbacks--it was an interesting drive!  Soon we pulled into the large parking area and Sally presented our “reservation” ticket.  The gate attendant and Sally had a long conversation, of course we didn’t understand a word.  Finally Sally explained--there had been a mud-slide and the road was closed.

After a quick phone call to Amy, they came up with Plan B--we would hike in the long back way to the rice terraces, and still would be able to visit one village.  

So off we went!  It was a long hike up and over those mountains, David estimated about 6 miles each way.  The beginning of the hike was on a small narrow road “paved” with slate like squares, but most of the hike was on a narrow rock trail that “switchbacked” around the mountains.  It was pretty tough walking in places, but the scenery was so gorgeous that I hardly noticed!

Just before we got to the rice terraces--this was tea planted in the terraces:

Our first views of the rice terraces:

The first part of the hike was easy:
View over the valley

Working in the terraces:


David crossing a bamboo bridge along the way:

A small, newer village along the way:

Steep stone stairs:

Old tomb along the trail, decorated for the annual Tomb Sweeping Festival

On the trail:

Here we are--hiking along!

The trail looked like this for most of the hike:

Carrying a load down those steep and slippery, wet steps:

About 1/2 way in to the village, it started to rain.  Within about 30 seconds it was an absolute downpour--but the timing couldn’t have been better.  We were just coming up to a covered bridge, complete with benches along the side.  We sat for a few minutes and waited for the worst of the storm to pass, then we were back on the trail!

We finally reached PingAn village, home to the Zhuang and Yao minority group.  It was a very interesting village and the people were friendly and welcoming, with big smiles to greet us.  There were very few other tourists there today since the easier trail was closed--so we just about had the trail and village to ourselves!

This old woman was making sisal (?) sandals--they did not look very comfortable!

Beautiful Yao woman in her shop along the tiny lane.  She was working on some gorgeous embroidery.

Looking down the narrow "street" (the only traffic is horses and people!)

Corn hanging to dry in front of a house:

Sedan chair used to haul tourists up the mountain if they can't (or won't!) hike in:

This young man was steaming a rice mixture in these bamboo tubes:

Block of pressed tea:

View from our lunch table--the old and the new: Poster of Mao and a computer monitor!

Looking out over the village:

PingAn Village school:

Horse walking down the "street" in PingAn

The man led the horse down these stairs--the horse DID NOT want to go!

Snake wine at a small "bar" in PingAn--no, we didn't have any!

Just outside the same bar--the next victim waiting to be brewed up?

Yao woman in PingAn--she was so sweet!

David and his new girlfriend--she wanted him to put the hat on!

Chili peppers for sale:

Sally recommended a small restaurant for lunch, and we relaxed for a few minutes over a delicious meal of stir fried pork and cashews, fried eggplant and pork noodles. We both agreed it was the best meal of our whole trip so far. 

On the way out of the village we stopped at a tiny shop to visit with a lovely Yao woman.   She was delightful and had the most beautiful smile!  She showed us how she embroidered the distinctive clothing, and cheerfully agreed to have her picture taken, and insisted that David put on one of her traditional hats.  It’s a pretty cute picture!
Sally asked her if she would show us her long hair, and she carefully took down her elaborately wrapped hair, and wrapped it up again.  Yao women cut their hair once when they are 18 years old, and then never again for the rest of their lives.  They keep the hair they have cut off, and use it as part of their elaborate hair “wraps”.  Her hair was beautiful!

After our brief rest and great lunch we started right back down the mountain.  It had stopped raining and some of the fog had lifted--the views were even more beautiful on the way down.  Of course, we stopped to take even more pictures!

Back down those steep steps!

Horse and stable:

Mao woman hiking back to PingAn after working in the rice terraces:

One last look of the beautiful Longshen rice terraces:

Finally we were back at the parking lot--whew!  A 12 mile hike is a loooong one for me, especially when it’s uphill!  My poor old knees complained all the way down!

Our driver was waiting for us, and it was a 2 hour drive to the city of Guilin.  We checked into our hotel, The Sheraton, and quickly hit the streets to look for a restaurant for dinner.  We had worked up quite an appetite with that hike!

We chose just about the first one we came to, and we enjoyed a delicious dinner or crispy duck, vegetables and steamed buns.  It was a small family owned restaurant, and the owner was very enthusiastic and talkative!  Our young waitress was sweet, and when I complimented her on her very excellent English she blushed!

We walked the short block back to our hotel and now we are all tucked in!  I’m sure we will sleep well tonight--we are dead tired AND we actually have a soft bed tonight---yaaaay!

Tomorrow:  An early morning flight to Xi’an--home of the Terra Cotta Warriors!

Sherry Sounds like another wonderful day inspite of the unexpected hike and the rain. The pictures are great. Amazing to see the rice terraces.
Deb It was worth the 12 mile hike- the pictures and written description of your day is so interesting !

No comments:

Post a Comment