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05.12.2005, 15:22

NEWS 43: Yangshuo (karst mountains)+Longshen (rice terraces)

We took a train from Shanghai to Guilin (about 24 hours). Since we arrived with delay we spent the night in Guilin. The next morning we went to Yangshuo, a small town south of Guilin. It's a touristic area actually but because the season is over there are only few tourists. We found a nice hotel and the West Street has all the things a traveller can wish for: restaurants also with Western food (which is sometimes nice to have again), shops, even movies in English, hostels. But what makes it so great are the beautiful surroundings. Yangshuo is in a karst area which means you have a lot of karst hills (out of limestone) and also caves. [image]
Besides, there are some rivers, villages and fields around. We went by bike along a river, through villages and little fields, off the beaten track. We could see people picking tangerines and drying kaki (persimmon) and even got fruits to taste. It really is a pity that we don't speak Chinese. The people were so friendly. We also climbed the Moon Hill, a hill with a hole in it making a stone bridge. Back in Yangshuo we met a German again whom we had met in Xiahe before - some weeks ago. And every day we talked to some Chinese students in English to help them with their homework: Asking questions to foreigners. The next day we hiked along the Li river for 6 hours and came through villages again. We had to cross the river a couple of times. A ferry man wanted to charge us a lot more so we just sat there and waited it out until there was a person on the other side he had to get.... I even thought about swimming across the river just not to let them overcharge us but it was too difficult with our clothing and the backpack..... Also went to a fishing village which wasn't that interesting. But on the way to it after getting off a ferry there were some water buffalos with big horns grazing. When they saw us they started to run in our direction. But bad luck for them, we are experienced monkey fighters ;-), grabed some stones and showed those to the animals which stopped immediately!!!!
And finally, we rented some equipment and went climbing!!!!! Yes, Yangshuo also is a climbing paradise. We even were still able to climb.... ;-) Hadn't done it for a while. Climbed up to 5.8. The atmosphere on the rock was very nice and international: people from 5 different nations climbing together. We even made a French guy happy for the day. He just stopped by because he saw people climbing and we let him join us.

more pictures Yangshuo:

Leaving Yangshuo it started to rain. We went to Pingan, a tiny village of the Zhuang minority north of Guilin in the area of Longshen. You have to walk the last meters into the village so there are no cars, motos or bikes just small paths. It only has the typical wooden houses which are quite big. The village is in the middle of rice terraces.
Unfortunately, we couldn't see those for 2 days since it was raining, all cloudy and it got cold. But finally, we were lucky and yesterday it cleared up a little bit. So we went for a nice walk through the terraces and villages of the Zhuang and Yao minorities. The Yao women have really long hair, some to the ground. Those terraces are really amazing. You can find them everywhere: up to the highest point and the last corner. And all has to be watered and cared for. It was very impressive already but imagine all fields still with crop on it.... I have seen other pictures from spring and summer time. Even more wonderful! The whole area is called LongJi (or Longshen) terraces and contains an area of 1014 hectares, built on the hillsides with altitudes from 300 to 1100 meters and are about 700 years old.
China is a country for persons who are afraid of dogs!! Why? Because the dogs are afraid of you. They probabely know if they don't behave they will end up on the table.....
When we woke up this morning we had 6 degree Celsius in our room.... Spent 2,5 hours in buses with probabely the same temperature and arrived chilled through in Guilin. The hot noodle soup (for 0,20 Euro) defrosted us again.;-) The bus to Nanning where we are now was nice and heated!!!!!

more pictures Rice Terraces:

Tomorrow we will leave China and go on to Vietnam.....

We had a really great time here in China. People were friendly, food was great, so many different things (cultures, minorities, life styles...) can be "discovered". We think it's funny that people great us with HELLO, look at us eating with chop sticks. We didn't get annoyed by people spitting or cars and buses honking. We actually thought it will be worse. The only thing we really did not like was the smoking everywhere.... You can travel here in China for more than a year and you still won't see it all. We are sure that we will be back one day...... THANKS CHINA!!

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