A Travellerspoint blog

Over the Bridge Noodles and Ballroom Dancing

sunny 27 °C

We wanted to get up early to catch the day train to Lijiang, but it didn’t happen. Getting to the station is simple and cheap enough at 10p per ride, but when we arrived we weren’t really anticipating the sheer size of the station and to make matters worse, as we are in China funnily enough, it was all in Chinese. There is apparently an estimated 10 million people travelling by train at any one time in China and approximately 20 million people in Kunming train station at any one time. Okay so I made the last bit up, but it really did deem like 20 million people, it was heaving. We managed to push through the crowds but which one of the 30 odd ticket booths should we choose. It was time for LP (Lonely Planet) and an information desk.
Kunming Train station

Kunming Train station


Well we were pointed in the right direction and were then standing in an hour long queue. We had read that you can buy tickets in the CIT travel agents at a slightly inflated price and so we abandoned the queuing idea and headed for the CIT using the map. We walked about a mile in the wrong direction to begin, with but we finally found it. We attempted to communicate what we were after but it wasn’t working and it wasn’t until the guy brought up an online translator that we understood that you couldn’t purchase train tickets there, so F@#K YOU Lonely Planet for your misleading guidance. We should have just stayed put in the station rather than rambling the streets for over an hour. Fortunately when we arrived at the station we were pointed to counter no2 with no Queue, but it was closed. Ste enquired and a woman opened it especially for us and we had our hard seat tickets for 10.21am in seconds. Result.

Roast Potato form a Street Vendor

Roast Potato form a Street Vendor

Stinky Tofu..Smells Like Rotting Meat

Stinky Tofu..Smells Like Rotting Meat

old Woman Selling Duck Eggs

old Woman Selling Duck Eggs



Lunch time and we were dying to sample the local dish ‘Over the Bridge Noodles’ in a restaurant that is 30 years old and specialises in making this one dish. We had a map, it wasn’t helping and we ended up at the incorrect restaurant, but eating ‘Over the Bridge Noodles” anyway. We were presented with a huge bowl of steaming broth and lots of tiny plates full of different meats, raw egg and noodles. These are then scraped into the hot soup and start to cook. I found the stock itself quite bland but it is possible to add chilli. What I found strange was that the people around us were only eating the bits in the soup and leaving the broth. We weren’t sure whether it was customary to do this or whether they were just full. Maybe Yu Pan might know?

Over the Bridge Noodles

Over the Bridge Noodles


On the way back to Cloudland, we made a diversion from our usual route and cut through the park. In China old people are much more active than in the UK and groups of old folk gather in the local parks to dance, exercise, sing, play music and majong every single day, come rain or shine. We stood gawping at a group of people learning ballroom dancing as a man played the electric piano. There was one particular man wearing a shirt and waistcoat, who knew the moves and was taking it very seriously. He obviously loved the fact we were watching and was giving his best performance. When the music finished he attempted to get us involved, but we shied away.

Waltzing in the Park

Waltzing in the Park

We continued our walk – old men with flat caps and sunglasses playing majong next to a business man smoking a fag while having his shoes shined, more people ballroom dancing and a couple of mini orchestras comprising of traditional instruments and wailing women. This was definitely the prime location for seeing what the older generations get up to.

Old Folk Playing Traditional Instruments in the Park

Old Folk Playing Traditional Instruments in the Park

Majong

Majong

Majong Master?!

Majong Master?!

Music in the Park

Music in the Park

IMG_2928

IMG_2928

Shoe Shine

Shoe Shine

Bad Breath?

Bad Breath?

Locals Gather in the Park

Locals Gather in the Park

Check Out the Slit Trousers - Quick and Easy for Taking a Dump in the Street

Check Out the Slit Trousers - Quick and Easy for Taking a Dump in the Street

Back to the hostel to do some much needed washing while the sun was still shining and we would drape our things over the balcony. We relaxed for a few hours and chatted on skype with dad before heading out for food. I got a little sidetracked by all the markets selling the most incredibly cheap clothing, you could get a dress for 4 pounds! AMAIZNG. We then got lost in wallmart for an eternity and came out with a ridiculous amount of jellies and sweets for the journey tomorrow.

Jelly...Lots of Jelly

Jelly...Lots of Jelly

Fancy Jellies

Fancy Jellies

Blue Chickens in Wallmart

Blue Chickens in Wallmart

Tasty Snack

Tasty Snack

Most restaurants were closing by this time, but a sweet looking woman beckoned us in with a basket of steamed buns and skewered meats which were DELICIOUS. She even donated her rice that was laid out for her dinner when we asked for mi fam (steamed rice.) The guy cooking the skewers also showed us a little trick for getting the meat off the skewers using a plastic bag. Everyone just seems so friendly and it is a pleasant change to Vietnam to be honest.

Posted by CarlaTracy 07:30 Archived in China Tagged food park train locals china transport dancing tickets kunming noodles Comments (0)

All Dogs Go to Heaven

sunny 9 °C

I’m currently sitting on the twelve hour sleeper train from Guelin to Shenzhen which is our last and thankfully not longest train journey in China.

We woke at a reasonable time to make the most of our last full day in China. For some reason everyone seemed to be up and about on facebook, even though it was 5 in the morning at home and so I spent a good while chatting. But I was forced to shut the laptop when the cold caused me to lose all sensation in my fingers and toes! What was worse was my pumps were completely soaked and caked with mud from yesterdays cycle ride; there was no way I was slipping those manky things back on and I instead had to settle for some open toed sandals that hadn’t been for walkabouts since Thailand! Ste was also in the same predicament and we both hobbled out of the hostel complaining every step of the way about our popsicle toes. I needed shoes, for the first time in my life I actually NEEDED a pair of shoes.

There are actually plenty of shoe shops in Yangshuo and it didn’t take long before we found a shop where they didn’t look too terrible; just converse style pumps etc. the problem was that women in China don’t often sport size 6 feet and so I had to rummage through the mens section. The chequered ones made me look like an Emo and the ones with graphics all down the side had me feeling like a little kid. Good job there was a shop across the road selling pretty much spot on fake Converese for a fiver; I grabbed myself a pair of those babies in black. Pure luxury, my feet hadn’t been so warm in weeks! Small things.

Now I know it sounds odd but Yangshou, along with its snails and dog, also likes to serve up Shepherds Pie! What a way to warm the bones! We dodged the relentless stream of street sellers all the way into a little café that sold this winter warmer. Ste couldn’t resist the ‘Fillet Steak’ which he ordered medium rare, but when it arrived, the origin of the meat became debatable. The waitress claimed it was ‘from cow’ but this steak had a much darker red, gamey appearance and its taste didn’t resemble any kind of beefsteak I have ever tasted! ‘Enjoy your dog steak I joked’ but deep down we both knew it was more likely dog than cow! Ste sent it back to be cooked more now I had put the willies in him. I tasted a slice more…”no WAY is that beef” – the texture was so soft, almost like a burger. “I wish I had got the shepherds pie” Ste grumbled with his lip out. “Eat up!” I laughed…

Talking about dogs, the next part of this entry is NOT for the faint hearted and if you are vegetarian, hemophobic or just LOVE dogs you probably want to skip to the next article. I will place the photos at the bottom of the article in case you want to read, but don’t want to see my trip to the dog market. I must say I was very apprehensive myself about seeing this particular market, but I guess you could say that morbid curiosity took the better of me…and a friends story about how he got a dog eyeball thrown at him got me a little curious.

On a Lighter Note - Dog Shaped Cookie Jar

On a Lighter Note - Dog Shaped Cookie Jar

Well we entered the market from the left hand side and so we had a bright and breezy stroll through what was very organised fruit and vegetable area before we arrived at the butchery. In the centre there were cage upon cage of live chicken, geese, fluffy bunnys, pigeons, the lot. But along back wall was the gruesome area. From a distance I could see it was separated into different concrete sections and from a distance I could also see a skinned dog hanging by its neck from the ceiling. Ste didn’t look too happy but we advanced admiring the poultry and muttering “I guess it’s fresh”

A View Across the Meat Market

A View Across the Meat Market

Run Rabbit Run

Run Rabbit Run

We now stood directly in front of the dog market section and honestly it was like something out of saw. Blood dripped from the bald carcasses that dangled from the front the cubicle and merged with the river of red from the other abattoirs (I use the word abattoir loosely) The walls were filthy concrete and were also sprayed with blood. I glanced over to see a woman with a rigid dog carcass partly submerged in a huge vat of boiling water to remove the fur. It was pretty disgusting but I had to get a photo, but not wanting to come under fire from a woman armed with dog eyeballs, we waved a 10 Yuan note at the owner and showed our cameras. He laughed and flashed the note to his friend, looking pretty happy with himself. We were on is good side.

The front bench had three dogs heads on a plate with a pile of jaw bones next to them. This could have been a scene out of saw. The man continued to prepare one of the dogs, but for me this wasn’t the problem. The problem was at the back of the tiny concrete room – a cage with two big fluffy dogs allowed to witness their eventual fates unfold within a foot of their faces. To see this was very upsetting, the dogs were not yelping or trying to free themselves, instead they lay huddled together and not moving a muscle. You could see from their eyes that they were utterly terrified. I really really felt for them and was shocked about the inhumanity of allowing an animal such as a dog, which possesses a great emotional capacity, witness a fellow dog’s death. To the people in the market, meat is meat and that is fair enough, but it is unnecessary to put them through such torture beforehand – even a blanket over the cage may help a little. I have never seen a dog look so miserable in my life; they looked like they could cry.

We obviously didn’t stay long and when my lens strayed to a woman hanging a dog a couple of stalls away, I was met with a fierce looking face and a hand containing an eyeball! It was her! Quick, we needed to get out of there. I couldn’t believe I had come face to face with the evil eyeball slinging dog murderer! Incredible. We dashed all the way out and into the nearest sweet shop to console ourselves with jellies and chocolate treats.

Bitesize Things...a Whole Store of Them

Bitesize Things...a Whole Store of Them

Tiny Jellies...a Chinese Obsession

Tiny Jellies...a Chinese Obsession

More Individually Wrapped Things...

More Individually Wrapped Things...

China's Love of Tiny Sweet in Tiny Packets

China's Love of Tiny Sweet in Tiny Packets

Novelty Cookie Jars in Nearby Sweet Shop

Novelty Cookie Jars in Nearby Sweet Shop

We devoured the lot in the park whilst expressing our disgust at animal welfare standards in China. Maybe if people see this they may be more concerned about the welfare of the animals they consume on a daily basis back home. We are all hammered about making better choices and things like this are the reason why…
WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES CONTAINING BLOOD, GUTS AND GORE!!!!

Dog Butchery

Dog Butchery

Dogs Hung at the Front of the Stall

Dogs Hung at the Front of the Stall

Prime Cut?

Prime Cut?

Dog Heads...for making stock perhaps?

Dog Heads...for making stock perhaps?

Poor Pooch <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_sad.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':(' title='' />

Poor Pooch :(

Well it was certainly a memorable last day in China, but we haven’t escaped the dog steaks yet, as we are off to Hong Kong in the morning.

Posted by CarlaTracy 07:23 Archived in China Tagged animals food dog market china yangshuo Comments (0)

The Tanks Are on the Move - Life Through the Bus Window

sunny 37 °C

Transport, I thought I'd seen and experienced it all throughout my 2 month travels through Thailand, but when Chris directed my attention to a man with a pair of chicken legs dangling from under his shirt trying to board a bus, I knew we would be in for an interesting journey. We had the prime viewing location at the front of the bus; we also had no seatbelts, as usual. As in most Asian countries there aren’t really sides of the road, the rule is drive on the right, but why bother when you can have WHOLE road to yourself? When you pay for Cambodian bus, you are not only paying to get from a to b, you are also paying for the white knuckle ride of your life! Gripping the front of my seat, I prepared myself as we headed off into the oncoming traffic. We had been going for moments when Me and Chris were giving each looks of despair as we nearly took out a car, which narrowly missed us by swerving off the road. All I could do was grit my teeth.

Kids on Their Way Back from School

Kids on Their Way Back from School

Dusty Back Roads in Local Village

Dusty Back Roads in Local Village

The road conditions changed quickly and dramatically; wide to narrow, dust, to rubble, finished to partly constructed. We ploughed through villages that were out of this world and unbelievably picturesque. Dust swirled, billowing onto cyclists whose faces were protected by karma scarves and flocks of chickens scattered as we thundered by. Our journey was only halted by the occasional daredevil cow that was crossing to pastures new.

Pedestrians crossing...

Pedestrians crossing...

IMG_1059

IMG_1059

Fast Food!

Fast Food!

Boy and Cow

Boy and Cow

But there was something else on the road that in any normal circumstance, you wouldn’t expect to see. There were an incredible amount of tanks, yes tanks, heading in the opposite direction, with military men clinging to the sides like ants. We gave each other some concerned eyebrows. More and more trundled by and at one point we had to stop to let at least ten pass us on a narrow section of road. Was this normal? I didn’t want to know. The only reassurance we had was the fact that they were heading in the opposite direction to Phnom Penh.

The First Tank Sighting

The First Tank Sighting

Tanks Heading to the Thai/Cambodia Border

Tanks Heading to the Thai/Cambodia Border

More Tanks eek!

More Tanks eek!

To take my mind off the possibility that Cambodia was rallying up its military troops for one reason or another, I decided to try and photograph the scooters, which the Cambodians treat as cars. Can’t fit that ikea sofa and wardrobe in the back of your car? Well I guarantee a Cambodian family could fit it on the back of their scooter AND the whole family including grandma and the dog. Oh and don’t forget dinner for the next week; that will be 20 live chickens strapped by their legs to the handlebars! It’s phenomenal! Why it doesn’t just topple over is completely beyond me. This would be odd, but to see three fully sized dead pigs bungee tied to the backseat tops it all! And the pig scooter, it wasn’t a one off, there were at least 30 odd, all heading in the direction of Phnom Penh. I later learnt that this was because of Chinese New Year.

Live Chickens on Handlebars

Live Chickens on Handlebars

Scooter Antics

Scooter Antics

Haystack on the Move

Haystack on the Move

Woman Selling Fruit

Woman Selling Fruit

Narrowing Roads Due to Dust

Narrowing Roads Due to Dust

Dust

Dust


We arrived in Phnom Penh after around 7 hours, which was two hours later than expected. All four of us jumped into a supersize Moto and piled in our bags. Our driver spent the next hour finding us a place for the night. It wasn’t as easy as we had expected, a lot of the places were not good value for money and quite dingy. We wanted something for around 7 dollars per room, but we had to stretch to double in the end at Angkor International in China Town. The rooms were mediocre but it would do. Our had two double beds in it!
We weren’t far from the river front and that is where we headed for Dinner. We decided to splash out on an Indian because it was something we all liked (Jess is a fussy eater and there was no way we were getting her to a road side café) The Indian was in fact great and even the interruption from children trying to sell bracelets, didn’t stop us from enjoying it.

Posted by CarlaTracy 09:46 Archived in Cambodia Tagged people animals travel bus phnom_penh siem_reap moto chicken scooters pig Comments (0)

Pas Parle Americano

sunny 27 °C

Oh no, the lack of money, language barrier and no ATM forced us back down the mountain to Geju the nearest city. We didn’t even get another chance for a stroll around the local villages, really really, frustrating. I guess we can never rely on there being a cash machine that actually works in these tiny villages, we obviously take the ubundance of ATMs in the Uk for granted. And know now to never trust the prices in lonely planet – you basically need to add a third to everything. It was about 2 and a half hours to Geju, back in the direction that we arrived in Yuanyang on the previous day. Our next destination would be Kunming but trying to tell that to the people in the ticket office took half an hour and soon everyone was joining in trying to be of assistance, we had an audience of at least ten! We eventually had it sorted – the bus was at 3, which gave us time to catch a taxi to an ATM and then have lunch.

Lunch was an experience. We were again faced with a glass cabinet of food, but when the waitress arrived speaking in Chinese we felt useless and nearly bottled out. But no! We were hungry and we approached the cabinet and pointed to various ingredients that we liked the look of. She jotted this down, showed us to a seat and poured us some green tea. What was going to come out of the kitchen would certainly be interesting! We were the only people in the restaurant apart from one other table of three and my god were we interesting. An ancient lady dressed in purple with a black headscarf glared across, not moving a muscle apart from her arm as she sipped tea from a tiny pot. I found her equally as unusual and stared back until our food arrived. Again it was a winner! We ordered too much but it was damn good – Pork with various vegetables, garlic fried broccoli and a vegetable soup and all this for only 3 pounds! Free rice and free tea.

Super Tasty Lunch - Not a Bad Result

Super Tasty Lunch - Not a Bad Result

Getting Stuck In

Getting Stuck In

As I asked Ste for my sinex he realised my Ipod and Bose headphones were no longer in his bag. “Did you bring them off the bus when I gave them to you,” I realised I hadn’t!! Horror of horrors, Ste ran off “I’m going to find it, hang on.” It was moments before our bus was supposed to be leaving but I sat and sat. A panting Ste came rushing in “I found the bus, but its locked, we need to wait for the man to bring the key.” We didn’t know if it would be even on there and when Ste hoisted my up I couldn’t see it. The woman had changed our ticket time for us and now she was waiting outside the bus. I have no idea how Ste managed to communicate all this, but apparently they got involved when they saw him darting from one bus to another. The driver arrived, opened a little box with a key and there it was! I really couldn’t believe it! We both hugged the lady, who blushed when Ste gave her a kiss and then we ran to catch our bus.


China Through the Bus Window

China Through the Bus Window

Countryside Whipping By

Countryside Whipping By

The bus that we thought would take around four hours ended up taking 7 and we didn’t stop for a toilet break for 5 and a half hours! It became apparent that it was a really bad idea to drink those two bottles of ice tea. We flew past rice paddies and farmland, everything was green where ever I looked. When I thought we were close we became stuck in a traffic jam and staring at me through the window were 3 huge buffalo!!


Buffalo Traffic Jam

Buffalo Traffic Jam

Patience is a Virtue - This Clearly Slipped the Drivers Mind

Patience is a Virtue - This Clearly Slipped the Drivers Mind

Some of the transport on the road doesn’t even have a name that I know of; strange little tractor/tuk-tuk cut and shuts with steam escaping from the exposed engine at the front. We eventually stopped at a service station that had a trench as a toilet!! No walls doors or privacy – these were officially the worst toilets I have seen in my life! I would prefer to pee in a bush! But mine is nothing on Ste’s story of a guy who needed more than a pee…while chatting on his mobile. Lovely.

It couldn’t be much further surely. But it was and when the bus dropped us off, it was in the middle of nowhere. The city was in the distance and a hoard of women surrounded us practically dragging us into their taxi and asking for 8 pounds! We were having none of it and found a metred taxi. We arrived at Cloudland at around 11 and I really wasn’t up for a dorm, but they were half price! We settled into our room…in the dark, people were already sleeping. It would be great to not have to travel anywhere tomorrow!

Posted by CarlaTracy 08:02 Archived in China Tagged taxi travel bus mountain city china language kunming atm yuangyang geju cloudland Comments (0)

Yuangyang Rice Terraces at Sunset

sunny 28 °C

Hekou to Yuanyang Rice Terraces is described as a four hour journey over bumpy roads in Lonely Planet. Well, I can only think that the person who detailed this journey fell asleep part way through and was lacking a watch. This journey that took us all round the hills and houses, past checkpoints and up mountains took, in total, 8 hours! Maybe we got on the wrong bus? I have no idea but it was an EPIC journey on a minibus.

Our Bus/Home/Family for the Day

Our Bus/Home/Family for the Day

Morning Nicotine Rush

Morning Nicotine Rush

We set off at 9am in a cloud of smoke as people sparked up an early morning cigarette in the bus. There was the driver and another man who liked to speak at 1000 decibels on his mobile and shout out of the window to potential customers, we went through the villages. The man across the way; a stereotypical looking Chinese tourist was trying to make conversation but this was obviously not happening. We had to reach for the Lonely planet to ask the simplest of questions like “Where is the toilet” “Where are you going?” It turned out this man was going to the Rice Terraces also, and he made a gesture to indicate that we shold follow him once we arrived. We smiled and nodded, smiled and nodded – that was the only thing we could do. But the real questions after six hours was “Are we nearly there yet?!” A 70km Yuanyang sign flicked by and we slumped back in our seats, smiling in disbelief.

The scenery along the way was beyond stunning. Minority women in amazing traditional dress went about their business, selling fruit and herding buffalo along the country roads. It was so picturesque. Most of the way we could see the incredible speedway nearby, but we were taking the back roads and. Village after village passed us by. We had our passports checked twice!

Herding Cattle Through the Service Station

Herding Cattle Through the Service Station

Buffalo on the Move

Buffalo on the Move

Buffalo Herder

Buffalo Herder

When we thought we must nearly be there and were pulled up in a small town, they started loading everything off the roof of the bus, inside. Every 10 metres this mountain of stuff had to be removed from the bus for the passengers to disembark and then it was piled back in before more and more people clambered in. We were in this town repeating this over and over for 45 minutes! It was sweltering, which was also much unexpected, when we had been preparing for the cold climes!

Are We Nearly There Yet?

Are We Nearly There Yet?

Iside the Bus - A Tight Squeeze

Iside the Bus - A Tight Squeeze

The bus finally pulled away and the scenery grew more and more beautiful as we headed up into the mountains. Now, me and mountain roads when I am not the one driving don’t mix and when our driver decided to overtake a lorry on the bumpy, narrow road on the edge of a precipice, I must have shown a real look of terror. Mr Man (as we affectionately named him) and Mr shouty ticket man were practically wetting themselves at my nervousness! They laughed and shouted in Chinese and made a ‘high’ gesture. I nodded and put my hand on my heart and gave a nervous laugh; I think they understood.

This road was so utterly beautiful but utterly nerve-wracking for me. I wanted to look out and enjoy the mountain panorama, but honestly, from where I was sitting I couldn’t even see the edge of the road…just a 300 metre drop off the side. The road ascended and my ears popped for an hour, higher and higher we climbed. Rice terraces unfolded and everything below became miniature. We passed through teeny villages clinging to the sides of the vertical wooded slopes. Part way up we stopped for the driver to run cold water onto the brakes, before completing the final and steepest section. I will never forget when we were revving around a hairpin bend and came face to face with a huge lorry on our side of the road. We braked sharply, swerving a little towards the edge – my heart skipped a beat, but we were still in one piece and arrived in Xinjie shortly after.

It was great to stretch my legs and I was surprised at the warm air that greeted us up in there in the mountains. We said our SheSheys to the bus driver and Mr Shouty and followed the beckoning Mr Man, who we could only assume was guiding us to a hotel.At first there seemed to be some confusion as he darted form one guesthouse to another shouting rather loudly. But he settled on one right next to the station and had us check in. Our room was huge with two double beds, a squat toilet with a shower directly over it, a TV and a fridge.
We had barely removed our backpacks when Mr Man appeared with the hand drawn map of the area that the hotel provided. I pointed, poling the paper violently. No rest for the wicked I thought and we made our way outside. We were heading to Golden Bamboo Village 4km away and assumed we must be getting a taxi, but no, we were hiking which was fine by me!

Setting Out to Golden Bamboo Village - Ste and Mr Man in the Lead

Setting Out to Golden Bamboo Village - Ste and Mr Man in the Lead

Splendid Views

Splendid Views

Solitary Tree

Solitary Tree

The Path to Golden Bamboo Village

The Path to Golden Bamboo Village

Rice Terraces

Rice Terraces

The sun was out and there was an amazing array of people to nosey at along the way. The village women were incredible, so brightly and intricately dressed and backed by the undulating ladscape of rice paddies, the whole experience was like a dream! Mr man chatted with various women ( I think with the ulterior motive of snapping their photo) along the way and they tried to ask us questions, it was such a shame not to be able to communicate! I bet they could have told us so many fascinating things about their lives up these rice terraces. I felt rude not being able to answer back, so I just made sure I smiled profusely instead.I think they probably thought it strange that we were here with Mr Man neither of us understanding a word each other were saying. But we were getting by with a combination of hand gestures, lonely planet and laughing.


Villagers Enjoying Dinner

Villagers Enjoying Dinner

Hani Hilltribe Woman - she must be at least 150!

Hani Hilltribe Woman - she must be at least 150!

Small Village Comprising Mainly of Hani People

Small Village Comprising Mainly of Hani People

Terraces Only Moments Out of Xinjie

Terraces Only Moments Out of Xinjie

We reached a point overlooking the valleys where there was a tree and in this tree were women! This tree was huge and it must have been a great effort to get up there to collect the fruit. A couple of women were also sitting below and greeted us as we approached, they giggled and gave curious glances in our direction as they chatted with Mr Man. They didn’t seem to mind that I snapped a photo of them…it was just so picturesque. The sloping terraces were in sight after about an hour or so and we made the ascent to the sunset viewing point.

Hani Women Taking a Break While Others Climb the Tree to Collect Fruit

Hani Women Taking a Break While Others Climb the Tree to Collect Fruit

Hani Woman Carrying Basket of Produce

Hani Woman Carrying Basket of Produce

Women Picking Fruit

Women Picking Fruit

As we appeared over the summit it was like a paparazzi attack. The Chinese tourists that were positioned with their immense cameras and tripods along a section of the terrace were no longer interested in snapping the landscape. Huge zoom lenses focused in and people literally leapt from behind one another to take a photo of us. We sat down to catch our breath as people continued to snap away. At one point I took a photo of a man taking a photo of me taking a photo of him! He leaned over to show his wife and they laughed and I laughed back and gave thumbs up. I was already loving the friendliness of the Chinese people, everyone always seemed in high spirits so far.


Photographers Paradise

Photographers Paradise

You Taking a Picture of Me, Taking a Picture of You, Taking a Picture of Me

You Taking a Picture of Me, Taking a Picture of You, Taking a Picture of Me

Loving the View

Loving the View

The sun began to set and cameras finally turned to capture the magnificent orange glow developing over the mirrored water that filled the scale shaped terraces, stretching down to the village below us. The dusky blue mountains were silhouetted in the distance. A myriad of hues unfolded until the sun dipped behind the mountain and a final burst of fiery red filled the sky. Then darkness. When the light left so did the cameras, but we were the only ones heading back on foot. It was easy to navigate the wide path in the dark and it took about an hour and a half to get back to Xijie.


Hani Children Wearing Typical Ornate Head-dresses

Hani Children Wearing Typical Ornate Head-dresses

Warm Glow Over the Terraces

Warm Glow Over the Terraces

Pastel Lights

Pastel Lights

Stunning...Worth the Journey

Stunning...Worth the Journey

Sunset Over the Rice Terraces at Golden Bamboo Village

Sunset Over the Rice Terraces at Golden Bamboo Village

Last Moments of Reflected Light

Last Moments of Reflected Light

Mr Man rubbed his belly and we agreed we were famished. The restaurants had no menu at all and we had to select the fresh ingredients from a glass cabinet. Mr Man was trying to ask what we fancied, but when faced with a cabinet of about 30 different leaves, 10 trays of chopped up meat and a stack of vegetables, how could we possibly say “diced chicken with ginger please?” We gave a shrugging motion and an open armed gesture to the cabinet. He understood and ordered. What turned up was delicious and contrary to what we had heard about Chinese food (from several sources) There was a whole fish in sauce, pork and ginger, a fresh tomato soup with tofu and mushroom (a bit watery) and a leafy vegetable in garlic, but I’m not sure what that was.

We were completely partied out for the day, but Mr Man wanted to arrange us going on a tour tomorrow, but it was expensive 20 pounds each. Fortunately but unfortunately Ste was unable to withdraw any money from the ATM and after desparately trying to explain we couldn’t go, we had a look at his photographs before retiring for the evening, in the hope of getting up for sunrise tomorrow.

Posted by CarlaTracy 07:31 Archived in China Tagged mountains villages food travel bus china countryside photos minority rice_terraces xinjie yuangyang Comments (1)

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