Thursday, March 3, 2011

Longsheng Postcard Day 18 The Quiet Part of Town

I can't believe it's March but there is still time to escape to... China! We were part of a Guilin tour that was visiting Longsheng, so far we enjoyed a performance by the Yao Ethnic Minority, savored a delicious lunch and viewed the spectacular Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces. Our guide Linda instructed everyone to take a different route on the way back so we ended up in a quiet part of town. Pictured below the last view of the rice terraces with a meandering path that seemed a long ways down, I wondered if water had to be lugged all the way up to nourish the fields.A break in the trees allowed this close up, bundles of harvested grains edged the harvested terrace. Did you notice the evergreen in the photo? We were surprised to find them in such a warm climate, the air was filled with their refreshing scent.
Around the corner, a makeshift stall tended to by ladies that were dressed like the ones here, Linda said the Zhuang Ethnic Minority also reside in Longsheng, could this be them? In the pots kept warm by charcoal burners were boiled sweet potatoes, I could not help but notice the size of their baskets that were used to carry all the goods.
Down the path, another lady with the same kind of headwear as the ones above, I think it looked very interesting. More than just a piece of towel, I quite like the square edges. In the woman's hands were some pieces of dried grass, what was she making?
Further down the path a clue was discovered, a piece of woven grass that looked like a sole for some kind of footwear. The crafter held it in place with her foot while she worked away.
Captured below the final product, a most magnificent pair of shoes! Each piece of rope was skillfully twisted, fabric was later added to the toe and heel areas for extra cushion. What struck me most was the use of colors especially the various shades of blue, how long would it take to make the ones below?
One of the last stalls we passed by, 3 elderly ladies were crafting under the hot sun, their small umbrellas offered little protection. I felt sorry for them as the heat was unbearable. There was no Chinese businesses in this part of town, only scattered stands minded by ethnic minorities.
Venturing into the residential area, the path sculpted its way down the mountain, rooftops nearby performed double duty as drying surfaces, the humid air smelled of spicy grass.
Down a flight of steep steps towards the wooden houses, we were thankful for the slight breeze in this shaded area.
A building on stilts, tofu skins and corn drying at the top level, grains and chilies on the level below, it seemed there were obvious advantages for this open concept.
Another home, a section of it was built over the path, its rustic appearance was admirable. I quite like how the light trickled through the growth and lit up some of the wooden walls, as we walked by underneath all was silent.
Zigzagging quietly down the trail, the colors of timber and greenery were muted by the shade.
A sheltered area with a restaurant on the right, old wooden stools sat on the worn concrete steps, in the distance homes with a sunny outlook.
The simple entrance was adorned by 2 big bags of dried chilies, on the small table a few water bottles filled with chili paste. We could see some tables and chairs but no one was eating, no one came to the door.
Outside, the balcony overlooked the rice terraces but this was definitely not an outdoor eatery.
Tanning on the ground three piles of hot peppers, the bra on the railing made me chuckle.
Since no one was around we took the chance to observe the chilies, the fresh ones sure were plump and juicy but their dried counterparts were much smaller in size.
Back in the sun continuing towards the busier part of town.
As we neared the end of the tour we thought this place was like a maze, would we be able to find our way around without Linda the guide?
One of numerous turns that led to another flight of stairs, there were as many steps as there was on the way up... until next week our China adventure continues!

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