We started our trip to the Longji rice terraces early in the morning on Friday morning (October 3rd). The Zhuang and Yao ethnic people living here have led a simple life from generation to generation. The Yao women are known for their very long hair. They wash their hair using rice water and then wrap it into a bun on their forehead. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of them! Hopefully one of the other people who went on this trip got one or I will just have to get one next time I go down there! The Zhuang people are China's largest minority. The Zhuang women wear hats to cover their hair before they are married. We hiked up into the hills to see the rice terraces.
The village up in the hills reminded me of the Ewok village in the Star Wars movies. There were lots of shops on every walkway. Some people were selling handicrafts (I bought a dress and two aprons) and some were selling food. I even saw soy milk being made by hand and I had a passion fruit for the first time!
We hiked up higher for the sunset and again the next morning for the sunrise. For the tourists, the farmers had strung lights on the terraces, especially where the "Seven Stars Accompanying the Moon" was located. If you click on the picture to the left, it will be larger and hopefully you will be able to see the little lights better. The Seven Stars are the seven round, top terraces. Can you find them all?
We got a great seat on a ledge and watched the sun come up. It was wonderful....except for the mosquito bites that some of us got. There were literally hundreds of other people who were either where we were or higher up the hills watching the sunrise. I didn't see many Westerners on this part of the trip.
If we felt we needing any pampering, there were places where we could get a washair, massage, or even get our foofs massaged! This English is much better than some signs I've seen (and should start taking pictures of)!
We didn't get much sleep at the hotel because our little rooms were right over the dining room and there were many Chinese men ganbei-ing until late!
In the morning, after watching the sunrise and eating breakfast, we walked back down the hills and did a bit more shopping. I thought this little set up looked so darling. Maybe a little story time or lesson had occurred. The little stools are so cute!
After our overnight adventures in the Ewok village - I mean the rice terraces - we headed back to Guilin. Our first stop was a Tea Plantation. We saw where the tea was grown and our guide told us about how they pick different leaves in order to make the different types of tea. Then we saw a demonstration of the whole process. We had a tea ceremony where we tasted different types of tea. Lastly, we visited the gift shop where we all bought tea!
Next, we headed to the Reed Flute Cave. I was really looking forward to this part of the trip....but I was a little disappointed. Only a little. The cave was very interesting and the formations were neat. What I thought was a little over the top was the lighting in the cave. Some areas looked pretty neat, like in the picture to the left, but other areas had lighting that was not well hidden and in all sorts of colors. There was even a light show that you could see with lights embedded in the floor. We didn't stay for the light show because we had just missed the last one and the next one didn't start for some time. It was fun and I am glad that I saw it, but it wouldn't be high on my list to visit another time.
That's about it for the Guilin/Yangshuo trip! Our flight home was less eventful and we were back to work on Monday. As always, there will be more pictures on my flickr site, just as soon as I upload them!
"Zai jian!" says the cormorant fisherman.