Saturday, November 10, 2012

Longji Rice Terraces Arrival (11/10/2012)

Saturday, November 10, 2012
Up early to take a taxi to the Shanghai Hongqiao Airport for an 8:35 flight to Guilin. It had been raining and the airport was totally fogged in. We had breakfast at McDonald's. The flight ended up being a half hour late, but we did have another breakfast on the plane. Arrived at 11:40 and were met by China Highlights guide Avan. He led us out to the van, and the driver headed us out the back way from the airport.
Avan made an itinerary change which we agreed to since he is the expert! It was an overcast day, so we sat back for the two hour drive to the Longji Rice Terraces Scenic Area.
We stopped at the Scenic Area ticket office to allow Avan to purchase our admission tickets. Billboards were attached directly to the cliff:
It was here where all the tourist buses had to park, and smaller shuttle buses take you to the gate. Being in a tourist van, we were able to be driven right up to the turnstile to enter the Longji Rices Terraces Scenic Area. Immediately, village men were asking if we wanted to be taken by sedan chair up the mountain. No, thank you! It is the women who ask to carry your bags up the hill in their backpack baskets, but I guess we were obviously carrying our own.
We had seen some rice terraces along the way, but here they are innumerable:
The initial part of the walk is lined with shops and vendors for food and souvenirs.
Dried rodent?
Once we crossed the Dong minority-style bridge, there were no more vendors:
This type of bridge is called a wind-and-rain bridge. It offers cool breezes in the summer and protection from rain for the workers in the terraces.
Tamiko and Kent on the steps heading up to Ping'an Village:
Thanks, Avan!
Some overgrown terraces near the village:
A sort of Catch-22: With the tourist business growing, there is less need to farm the terraces. Yet the terraces are the tourist attraction. Apparently there are incentives for the farmers to keep many of the terraces in operation.
Make way for the chickens:
We checked into the Longji One Hotel, and must have the room with the best view!
Log bed:
We were ready for lunch! Avan had to lead us through the twisting and turning lanes:
This is a raincoat made from palm straw:
Lunch at the Mei You Cafe was wonderful. We had the local specialty of bamboo rice:
Glutinous rice and vegetables, including sweet potato, are stuffed in a bamboo tube to be cooked.
Beans and pork:
(No relation to pork and beans!)
Chili beef and veggies:
This dish used chili powder.
Greens with local mushrooms:
The mushrooms were firm like portobellos.
After our late lunch, we were ready to hike up to the viewpoint above the village.
The villages produce most of what they need, except beer for the tourists:
One of the traditional ethnic minority housing:
Stone pathways:
No handrails:
Bamboo water pipes:
Ethnic dress on a white mannequin:
Zhuang women with towels wrapped around their heads:
Ethnic minority embroidery:
Not only overcast, but misty:
Kent says this sign has good punctuation:
These rice terraces have already been harvested:
We are headed to the viewpoint up there in the clouds!
But first! Although we were in a Zhuang village, the Yao women come here where there are more tourists to sell souvenirs, and offer to let down their hair for a fee:
The Red Yao women, and their village in particular, are in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest hair. The average length is 1.7m/5.6' and the longest is over 2m/6.6'.
These two ladies let down their hair and removed the two extra hair bundles which they threw onto their shoulders:
One bundle is from when they have their hair cut for the first and only time at age 18. The second bundle is the collection of loose hair from a lifetime of brushing/combing.
One woman immediately put her bundles together with her hair and started twisting:
While the other first tied off her own hair (with a hair?):
Twisting a very thick bundle of hair!
This is the classic pose on postcards showing the length of the hair:
This is your postcard, Cousin Mary!
The ladies looped the bundles around the top of their heads:
This one flipped up the circle of hair to get the end of the bundle under it:
It's difficult to see that they twist a knot in front of the circle of hair to show they are married with children:
Time to pose with the tourists:
We reached the viewpoint:
This is what it should look like:
Photo op:
This guy was smart enough to point out the "moon:"
They always keep water in the circular terrace that represents the moon in the view of "The Seven Stars Around the Moon."
Here we have a better view at a lower viewpoint:
 Persicaria capitata/Pinkhead Knotweed:
Heading back into Ping'an Village:
"Look, a [mountain] horse!"
Said, Tamiko before she slipped in the mud:
Village pig sty:
Hen and chicks:
This is the sedan chair in which you can choose to be brought up the mountain:
I'd be afraid of tipping out!
Autumn decorations?
Back at the hotel, we sat in the dining room for drinks. The view from there:
Not all the terraces are used for rice. Several other crops are grown.
Later was dinner of fried noodles and vegetables:
Along with spicy tofu.
Kent tried the local fruit wine:
Turns out to be yew berries. The toxic seeds had been removed, but I believe even the branches are a bit poisonous... But Kent is still with us today.
Another village hotel is decked with lights.
There was a fireworks display at 9:00 pm.
Good night!

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