An early morning Bamboo raft ride on Li river to ‘make a nicer natural photograph’. So many locals out and about – swimming, washing clothes, washing bodies or just bobbing along in the current that was very swift in the shallower parts of the river. Those not in the water were exercising on the banks – any old movement seems to go – back bends, arm circles, (looked very much like they were waving, but it seems, they were not). Others played badmington or practiced chi ball.
Long drive out of town, through gradually poorer areas of Guilin, past market gardens, and into the country side – very small landholdings where people grow chickens or ducks, or leafy greens that can be bought at the market on the day they are picked. First stop was Huang Le village, a town recognised by the Guinness book of records for having the most women with long hair, up to 1.8m in length. After enjoying a cultural show, with faux marriage ceremony (apparently, the women pinch you on the bum if they like you), tea with crunchy rice bubbles in it, and demonstration of the long hair, we walked through the timber village and over a precariously swinging bridge back to the car.
More driving up steep, winding roads, an occasional rockslide to skirt, and hairpin bends with no guard rails and a relaxed approach to staying on the right side of the road, we arrived at the car park for Ping An village. For 20 Yuan ($3.50), little sherpa women from the village will load our packs in there baskets and carry them the 45 minute walk up the stony path with rough hewn steps, muttering at us when we pass.
First stop lunch. For lunch we had chicken and rice cooked in the tube of a bamobo stem. And washed down of course with Ying Ping Bing Pijiu (bottle of icey cold beer). After lunch we checked into the hotel in the side of the mountain – of which all the materials had to be carried up on the back of woman in a basket or by donkey.
In the afternoon a leisurely hike through the Li Jiang Rice Terraces was breathtaking – showing us the luminescent staggered vistas for miles into the distance.
Again we are back to eat some more – it seems that this holiday is turning a gastronomic journey of southern china than a health retreat based on the assumed hiking we’d be doing.
Dinner was Wild Mountain Frog (again the animal is cleaved into bite sized chucks) fried with the obligatory wild chilli and garlic. Tory was not too excited to receive the said frogs hopping equipment. As well as frog we had the Chicken Soup and vegetable with egg. After dinner, Tory was treated to an hour long massage whilst I enjoyed many more cold pijiu on the balcony bar overlooking the valley.