Staying in the rice fields

Written by Jul 4, 2006 00:07
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One of the most memorable times of our trip to China was the three short days we spent on the Dragon's backbone just out of Longsheng not far from Guilin. Having arrived in Guilin at about one in the morning and being escorted to a hotel by one of the many touters that were at the station, we awoke to a misty morning in Guilin. A trip to the bank and on the bus to Longsheng. A quick cup of tea and some roasted shallots and back on a bus for the ride to Ping'an. A narrow windy road that weaves it's way up the steep hillside to the Ping'an carpark and then a very very steep walk up the hill track to the village itself. Beautiful traditional homes set in this amazingly steep hill country area. We headed for the one at the top- the Highest Place- aptly named!! An amazing room for an equally amazing price. We were struck with the peaceful tranquility of the area.
A pleasant wander through the fields to the look out and you are confronted with a superb view over the terraces that meander around the hills as far as you can see. We spent a couple of days relaxing here in the peace and serenity of the area- a wonderful change from the busy streets of Beijing~~ So pleasant we did not want to leave. The food was great, the scenery is stunning, the people are beautiful and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to take a real look at life in China.

Lunch with the Zhuang Women

We awoke the next morning to hear the cheerful chatter of people. Heading down the stairs we found a group of women with baskets on their backs that were full of bracelets and bags, scarves and many other items. They are hard sell!! But they were so charming we just had to buy. These women have the most amazingly long hair!! When they unwrap it from their heads it drags on the floor- in fact they hold the world record for the longest hair.
Later in the day wandering through the fields we came across some more of these Zhuang women and they talked us in to lunch at their village- not far!! Two hours later, many steep hills, as many gullies and two million rice terraces later we arrived at the beautiful village perched on an extremely steep hillside. Along the way they had picked fern tips and beans and these combined with potatoes and chicken= killed and plucked in front of us- they set about cooking our lunch over a wood fire brning happily on the floor of their wooden house!! A bit scarey!
A wonderful meal and wonderful day and a very long walk home through the misty rain that fell for the entire journey. Wet as I was, I would not have missed it for the world.

Banboo rice

One of the fascinating things that we viewed in this beautiful place was the making of what we named- bamboo rice. A piece of bamboo is used, employing the naturakl joins in it to form the bottom and the top of the container. A hole is made through the top join in the bamboo and rice is poured in through this hole, Water is added and a plug is carved to "stop" the top end. The bamboo is then placed in the fire and turned for about 10 minutes. Above the top join in the bamboo a long piece is left on one side and a slot cut in to it. After cooking on the fire, the bamboo is attached to the belt of the worker heading out in to the fields and during the morning of work the bamboo acts like a natural thermos keeping the rice hot and finishing the cooking process. When lunch time comes out in the fields they take out the bung in the top of the bamboo and there they have their cooked rice already for lunch!

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