Thursday, March 10, 2011

China Diary Day 18 Goodbye Longsheng

It's Thursday where we take off to... China! We were visiting Longsheng where the talented Yao girls sang and danced, we enjoyed some fine local cuisine and hiked through the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces. Last week we discovered the Zhuang people while walking through a quiet residential area. Today I share the last bits of our tour, pictured below the same trail that took us uphill, we were not the only ones that were leaving that afternoon.The same group of tourist shops at the beginning of the trip was much quieter now...
... as were the row of clothing and trinket stalls further down the trail. Most tourists had already left, no prices were yelled at us, the store owners simply glanced at us when we walked by.
A last look at the hanging handbags I so admired but did not buy, each was about 350 to 450 RMB (about $50 to $65 Canadian.) The soft colors were beautiful and the embroidery and weaving delicately elaborate, these were the finest specimens of handiwork in our entire China trip. I could not bear the thought of ruining them with use so I captured them with the camera as a lasting memory.
A few more purses to the side, I really like the black and blue one which was the largest of them all.
Last chance to buy handmade grass shoes, the colors were the brightest ones we saw, click here to see the lady making them, I wondered if they were a comfortable wear?
Two wooden mops were left leaning on the wall, strips of rags were given a new purpose, the result a colorful solution to an otherwise mundane cleaning item.
A drink stall selling freshly squeezed cane juice, the stems in the bucket looked and smelled delicious. The machinery reminded me of this popular drink in Singapore, good as a cooling aid for hot days several tourists in our group bought the drink.
Fruit sellers were aplenty near the end of the trail. Some customers would sample the goods and leave without buying, which happened to this lady below, but boy did she smile when a sale was made!
"Novi, take some pictures of the horses!" David said, we moved aside to make room for the upcoming traffic, a laborer yapped on his cell phone while delivering goods on his ride. We didn't notice any phone towers, was the reception good?
The last corner of souvenir stalls before we reached the parking lot.
While waiting for our bus we looked over the edge and noticed some harvested rice fields that had not seen water for some time.
Further down the hill a lady was trimming off the leaves from some daikons.
The greens were left behind but where was she taking the roots to?
Our guide Linda called us to the bus, on the way to Guilin we stopped at a tea hall for a tea taste, everyone was aware of this itinerary item except us. The event took longer as no one bought anything which made the salespeople aggressive, eventually some teacups were sold and we were free to leave.

A brief note on the tour: We paid extra to join an English speaking tour but it turned out to be a Chinese group. There was lots of chatting and snacking en route, including numerous interruptions during Linda's presentation, queueing was absent and upon arrival everyone split up into smaller groups which had their own direction, it was a lively bunch. It was an action packed afternoon, we had great fun.

A quick note on our hotel: the Lijiang Waterfall Hotel was the only 5 star and the most expensive accommodation on our trip but it was quiet and within walking distance to various restaurants.

En route to the airport we reminisced about Guilin, in just 3 short days we cruised the Li River to view its legendary scenery, there was a delightful bike trip through Yangshuo, followed by the Yao dance performance and rice terraces in Longsheng. For a destination we knew little of we found lots to do and would recommend Guilin as a must see.

Below one last picture of Longsheng, a grazing horse gazed sweetly as if to say farewell. Next week the adventure continues in another China destination!

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