A break from the heat
31.07.2008 - 02.08.2008 33 °C
Armed with a list of places where we needed to change buses provided by a lady we met in Yangshou we headed up north to the rice terraces at Longji.
The bus station in Guilin was as expected busy and we had no idea what bus we wanted only that we wanted to get off in HePing. In the guide book it said people will rush to you and help you get on the correct bus for a small fee, and sure enough within seconds of setting foot in the bus station a lady came running over and asked which bus we wanted then put us on it and charged us 5yuan each (about 30p). We sat and watched films in chinese all the way, the chinese version of the sound of music and a film about making the best bra in the world (at least that was my understanding of it). 2 Hours later we got off and haggled with a taxi guy for the rest of the journey (20 yuan for 23km although at the time of haggling we didn't know how far we were going). We arrived in Da Zhai, we were told this was far less touristy that the more popular PingAn. We were mobbed with ladies offering to carry our bags to the hotel and hotel owners trying to get us to stay with them. So Brenda picked the smallest oldest lady there and some woman grabbed my bag so I had no choice and we were off.
We did feel a little bad about them carrying our bags, but thankfully we had left our big bags in Guilin. On the way up we stopped for luch at some guys house in the main village of DaZhai. It was the worst food yet. We had asked for pork and veg, but I have no idea what it was. Maybe tendon but what ever it was it was crunchy but rubbery and well I don't know he seemd so happy we tried to eat it. It was a lovely house, but I wouldn't eat there again:
After feeling so full we headed uphill beyond the village of Tian tou and our guesthouse.
The ladies headed off to find more bags to carry and we settled in
Now one thing I have to mention is that there is a serious lack of maps. In Yangshou we cycled with a bit of paper that showed one road (and I don't think we ever found that one). In Longji rice terraces we had the map on the back of the ticket, it had the villages marked and some paths but not all. It also had three view points marked. Number 1, Number 2 and Number 3. The locals are minority tribes who don't speak a lot of english but point at random hills and say "number 1" but we weren't exactly sure where they were. But in the afternoon we climbed higher and possibly found number 1. If we didn't it didn't really matter as the view was pretty good
Although the views were pretty good all over the place. Rice terraces have been cut into the side of the hills, construction started in the 1200's and finished 600 years later. Its very impressive
and there are no roads so everything is carried by little old ladies or horse
In the evening we were a tad worried about the food, but it turned out to be great. And while Brenda used the internet I talked to a chinese couple and the kid from the hotel. Not really sure we understood each other and some how I won the game which meant the little girl had to sing. Her rendition of twinkle twinkle little star was far batter than me counting in chinese.
The view from our hotel wasn't bad either
Other people seem to come in later afternoon and leave early the following morning, but we decided to have a full day to explore. We walked to number 2 in the morning. This was the most dubious point as there was no marker to say we had reached it, we kept trying to go higher but the paths finished and ended up in the muddly paddy fields.
It was a steep climb back to the hotel and Brenda looked for an easier option
For lunch we had bamboo rice. It took a while to cook in the open fire
and despite the unknown meat was pretty good
In the afternoon we walked an entire circuit of the paddy fields. From number 1 to number 3 back to the main village and home. The map showed a path but didn't indicate that it would take 5 hours and it would all be up and down and at one point we ended up walking through the river
We stopped for a coke before climbing to number 3. Apparently I am not used to drinking full fat coke as i sprinted up to the top of the peak, much to Brendas annoyance. Although the massive down hill bit nearly killed me as the sugar had worn off
The high peak behind Brenda is where we'd just been. We were very tired after the walk and I think the lady at the hotel was beginning to get worried as to where we were. She'd sent us off with her phone number so that if we got lost she would come and find us. All good if we'd found a phone.
But finally people understood my chinese. My travel journal has pictures of everyone on it and I was explaining who you all are and what I do for a living and they understood me. They picked Warren out and kept saying piao liang (beautiful). I guess I paid attention in those lessons.
Got the bus back to Guilin with remarkable ease. The little ladies picked up the bags and marched us down the hill. At the bottom was a bus which left straight away. When we got back to HePing was another bus which took us back to Guilin. 2 hours to cover nearly 100km for 25 yuan.
We are in the flowers guesthouse again. People recommended here, but its expensive with really small rooms
Tomorrow is our first train trip. we've been to the supermarket for supplies (some kinda pot noodle thing, I think its beef but I could well be wrong).
Will let you know how it goes as soon as I find another computer.