Thursday, February 10, 2011

China Postcard Day 18 Longsheng Hiking Up the Hill

It's.... that time of the week we escape to China! In the last 2 posts, we enjoyed a wonderful performance by the Yao Ethnic Minority ladies and afterwards, saw some of them working on their crafts. The van finally arrived to take a small group of us and our guide Linda further up the mountain in Longsheng. They dropped us off at a parking lot and we headed upwards on the trail. A few steps in, a row of people carriers for hire. Each one required 2 people to lift and operate, one at the front, the other at the back. Everyone preferred to walk up so we all said no thanks! and continued on.David had the camera equipment and laptop while I kept the food and water supply, we were not the only ones who were carrying backpacks. This lady had a woven basket that looked heavy, plus a plastic bag of goods in each hand, what were in those bags?
Up the trail we go accompanied by the long line of souvenir shops. Some hand held umbrellas offered shade from the sun, a practice common in Asia but not in Canada. The 4 ladies in the white blouses caught my attention, the clothing styles are Chinese but are they Yao Ethnic Minority too?
A shop selling dried goods, looking through the plastic containers there were mushrooms, fruit and herbs. Some tourists in our group took notice of the little packages on the front, Linda said there would be no need for snacks, we're going to have lunch!
A few stalls down, a tiny shop selling souvenirs. It looked so messy the goods appeared undesirable. But look at those bags of dried chili on the shelf, Linda said one of Longsheng's specialities is their chilies. Her Mandarin was too fast for me but from what I understood, you'd fry it lightly in oil and add it to stir fries or stews.
Another small shop, this one much tidier in appearance. I could not help but notice their simple structure, only a wooden frame with no walls, it's roof made of branches covered with a tarp like fabric, probably weighed down with rocks. Several hand stitched fabrics displayed on wooden rods acted as screens.

Along the way shop owners yelled out their prices, a small cross stitched piece 8" x 8" (20cm x 20cm) cost about 30 RMB (about $4 Canadian) but the colors were too bright. There was no need for more things so no business was to be made from us. I simply admired the handiwork, it was lovely to look at.
More souvenir shops, these ones a lot larger in scale, there was so much stuff tables were set out on the side walk. The bigger ones must take a lot of time, the colorful one and the blue and white on the right were the prettiest.
A closer look at some other ones on the side, they were folded table cloths. Bold designs with unique color combinations. I'm a messy eater, they would not stay unspoiled long in my kitchen.
Continuing on upwards, after a long flight of stairs, there would be another one followed by yet another one. It was a good thing the steps were not too high and the slope was gradual. We were sweating profusely, Linda said we were 15,000m above sea level and closer to the sun, that was why the air felt so hot.
Cheerful colors shining from the side of the path, a group of 7 little ducklings so soft and yellow they squatted down quietly on the grass, no parents in sight. A delightful change from the sight of souvenirs.
A few steps away a single hen, it had a bowl of murky water and an empty container of grains. Its area was bordered up with baskets and a plastic roof tile, but won't this be easy to escape?
An overview of the scene on the hillside. Linda said the Yao celebrate several festivities, averaging about one celebration per month. Judging by the red lanterns adorning the buildings, there is an ongoing festival but as to which one I'm not sure. It was not easy to ask questions as Linda was very busy trying to keep the tour group together, apparently half of them had taken a different trail while the rest had wandered off shopping for souvenirs and snacks.
A closer look at one of the windows, yes that was laundry hanging out to dry, just like the rest of China.
Pathways of stairs around the buildings, I guess with a lot of hills there comes a lot of steps. We had not seen a single motor vehicle whatsoever since our climb, the only way up was by foot.
Everything you need has to be carried up or down. We noticed these 2 ladies walked from the back of the buildings on the right, what were in those baskets and where were they heading?
The last bit to the top, Linda instructed us to keep going until we reached the top of the stairs, where there would be a restaurant. After about an hour of walking, finally some lunch!! More on that next week as we continue with our China adventure!

1 comment:

  1. Another fascinating post. The fabrics were very colourful indeed.