|From Eric's Pics|
Sunday – August 2
This was an EXTREMELY long, HOT, and difficult day, but looking back, very rewarding. I had been wanting to go the Longji Rice Terraces for some time now, and Jamie and I are forgoing the Banuae Rice Terraces in the Philippines for the Longji in China, so I was excited about this trip. Mom, Dad, and Samantha didn’t quite know what to expect, but were along for the ride nonetheless.
The only problem with the day is that I hardly remember or know any of the names of the places we saw. Our day started with a curvy, swervey, bus ride to a small village at the base of the mountains. On the way there, the country side of China was beautiful as we wound our way through the mountains seeing the karst landscape, mudslides on the roads, while our bus hung on to the curves of the road. After purchasing our tickets to the famous Longji Rice Terraces, we took another smaller bus rapidly up a curvier, narrower road to the next village (pronounced “willage” by the Chinese ). The driver was insane speeding up the hill like that, but I guess he knew what he was doing. We only say 3 other busses that had fallen off the mountain – j/k.
It was already a million degrees outside and now we were an arm’s length from touching the sun. Little did we know we hadn’t even started our journey to the top to see the Rice Terraces. Please keep in mind that we had been seeing rice terraces for the entire morning, but what we discovered at the top made it very worth-while.
First, they made you pass through the village going up small stone steps and paths for a 20 minute hike. We ate lunch at a restaurant at the top of the hill in the village. We all had bamboo chicken and rice (literally, chicken and rice stuffed into a bamboo chute and then cooked over an open flame). I was the only one to think it was delicious. Jamie tolerated it, but Samantha finally asked for her energy bar. Dad and Mom both nibbled, but it certainly wasn’t their favorite dish.
The next part of the journey was another 20 minute walk up smaller, steeper stones to see the “Moon and 7 Stars” of the Rice Terraces. The moon and seven stars refer to the tops of the hills where the rice terraces begin. Since we were there during the summer, the rice terraces are green; however, if you go certain times of the year, you can see them yellow and even “glassy” when they are full of water. It is at this time when they look like a field of mirrors. Our pictures have all turned out well of the top of this place. Be sure to check them out. The journey up and down that hill was especially hard for Dad, but he made it! We were all proud of him for continuing on to the top.
Afterwards, we went to a rather hokey little boat ride down the Yi River. They put us in a small boat and we gently flowed downstream watching “performances” of some of the minorities from the area. Most notable were the Yao Village women with the long hair. Apparently, they have the World’s Record for the group with the longest hair. There aren’t many of them, and they do indeed have long hair. 4 other “performances” were provided before we exited the boat. While going through their tourist trap shop, they made you cross over a bridge and sing a song in your native language. They had just “performed” for us, so I guess we had to for them. I led everyone in “I’m a Little Teapot” complete with hand and body motions. They loved us and let us pass through.
Next was a performance by another minority under a covered pavilion that even Jamie and Mom got to interact and dance as they joined in. Great pictures were taken and they enjoyed the dancing.
Our last stop was at a Tea House for some Green Tea, Flower Tea, Black Tea, and Puer Tea. They had a tea demonstration which was nice and touristy, but neat overall.
We were exhausted, but Jamie, Samantha, and I went to a small western restaurant, Rosemary Café, and ordered some food and brought some back from Mom and Dad. A very tiring, but rewarding day.