Thursday, February 17, 2011

China Diary Day 18 Longsheng Hiking Down the Hill

Welcome to this week's edition of our China trip! Last week we hiked up the hill in Longsheng searching for the restaurant at the very top, after an hour of walking we finally made it! The view from the stairs just outside the eatery, it seemed there were buildings located higher than us on another peak.The sight that greeted us at the door, a dish washing area, it was obvious they were done by hand, scrubbed first in soapy water then a clean rinse in another pan. Standing on the left by the wooden rails, our guide Linda held the green flag that denoted our group. She watched out for the rest of the flock like a hawk, apparently some had wandered off shopping for souvenirs and snacks and took a wrong turn. No worries she said, eventually the path would end up here.
I asked Linda if she would lunch with us, she said it's her job to wait until everyone had arrived. The shot of the trail from her spot, a clear view of the path where you could see someone coming for miles.
I asked Linda why we are eating at this restaurant and not others on the way or the Countryside Cafe pictured below for example. Linda said our restaurant is the highest one on the mountain, with good food and a great view.
A shot to the right from where I stood with Linda, accented by the red lanterns the view was gorgeous.
Once seated inside, the server gave us a small menu in Mandarin, it listed only a few dishes. Chicken cooked in bamboo and wild vegetables were their specialty so I ordered them. The meat came in a section of bamboo, which was then opened at our table to reveal chicken and mushroom with Chinese herbs, we spotted some goji berries, pictured below the only food photo we took in China.

The chicken was fresh and tasty but a bit tough, in general we found the meat in China to be on the tougher side. The vegetables were good too, seasoned just right, it had a taste very similar to spinach and went well with the meat and rice. Everyone helped themselves to as much rice as they wanted, it was in a very big pot at the back of the restaurant, the long walk up the hill had worked up a good appetite.
Lunch came to 67 RMB (about $9.50 Canadian), fully recharged we headed out. Linda was still standing waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, I found out afterwards she had no lunch as others came so late it was time to leave. One last shot of the scenery before walking down, the first half of the photo reminded me of Europe but the bottom half held Chinese clues containing red umbrellas and orange menus.
Another orange menu, this one very faded, listed in Chinese characters were the same dishes as we saw everywhere else, their prices were similar too. But the man cooking the chicken in bamboo sections was a delightful sight, for we never saw how our dish was made.
Not far away, a lady was seen cleaning some bamboo sheaths that was partly covered in soot, they looked to be the same kind that was used for our chicken dish. I guess they would be reusing these.
Linda told us to take a different way down, we followed the long flight of zigzagging stairs and noticed some grains and corn cobs drying at one corner.
"Follow those horses!" David said. For heavier loads, hoofed animals came to good use, they looked quite small and skinny compared to the ones in Canada.
We walked past a construction spot, next to the mixer a worker was filling the cement into the buckets. Unlike Yangshuo, this was the only construction zone we saw.
There was no lack of souvenirs however, another stall, quite small but very neat. Its goods looked complete, there was bags, purses, scarves, jewelry, wall hangings, tablecloth, even shoe inserts, which we noticed at the bottom left of the photo below. Machine embroidered with various patterns including flowers and fruit, they were quite pretty.
Most of the shopkeepers we came across were Chinese, the stand below was one of the few that was tended to by Yao ladies. Handmade cross stitched designs on bright yellow and turquoise fabrics were appealing, but the hand woven blouses hung on the right caught my attention. This was the first time I saw Yao clothing for sale, the ladies kept saying the prices were reasonable but we walked away as I just know they would sit in my closet unworn and forgotten.
A few doors down, an antique shop, dark and dingy some items are covered in a thick layer of dust. There was no time to explore inside, it was still a long ways to the parking lot.
From our path looking down, the view of rooftops with grains and chillies drying in the sun. There was something peaceful about this view, a glimpse of daily life in Longsheng, all was quiet except for the sounds of a crowing rooster.
Walking down the path, table runners and colorful scarves on one side, a big drop on the other. We hurried on without looking down, shouldn't there be fences? Oh well, no time to worry. Join us next week as we continue with the China adventure through town!

2 comments:

  1. What can I say, another fascinating post. I admire how simple everything is.

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  2. I'm once again amazed how many photos and detailed memories you brought along from that trip!

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