Day 5: The Road to the Dongs

Hiking back down the hill following our tireless Sherpas – god bless their cotton socks. A purchase of some jim jams and some other assorted souvenirs for the offspring we were into the car and a 3 hr drive to San Jiang which is home to the ‘tall Pagoda in all of Guilin’

A pagoda is a traditional ceremonial building and this one in particular was very tall – of which I was too scared to climb to the top. Tory was not and giggled as she passed my sweaty, scared carcass.

Again another feast followed of Wild Pig Skin Soup, Meat with Mushrooms and other assorted veggies and rice. I’m beginning to think our guide believes that I’m an alcoholic because as soon as I sit I have 2 cold long necks to next to me each time. Although Im not complaining yet!

Little did we know that the the following 4 hrs would be some of the worst driving experience I’ve ever had. It makes the drive to Mt Squires in the Simpson Desert feel like a Gelati licking stroll along the parade.

The autonomous government of the day thought it imperative to build a new highway through the mountains for a length of 150km by hand. It seemed that there may have been a workforce of 20 something (females mainly) laying concrete and screeing with whatever odd trowel at their disposal. Whilst this was happening the road eventually became a one lane goat track which accommodated every bus and truck that was decided to venture north or south along it. With no-one ever ever ever ever (and ever) yielding right of way this made for some very harrowing driving by our man Wu. To illustrate this point we saw 2 over turned lorries on the side of the road wing mirror deep in the paddies. Happening only minutes before we arrived.

This drive of course was to visit the Minority Village of the Dong people. Arriving after dark we were treated to the bamboo flute show. A local band in celebration for the Summer harvest. I purchased a bottle of rice wine (empty long neck filled from plastic tub in village square) and sat down with the locals to enjoy some local hospitality. What tasted like warm chardonnay mixed with cheap vodka, it was good juice in its purest form.

Dinner was hand made Sweet and Sour pork made by our guide Steve in his friends cafe kitchen, we were also treated to the bum burning experience of the local delicacy – fried dried beef with local mountain chili. Think of Territory Jerky steeped tabasco and then fried in oil and then topped with rounds of chili, served in chili oil. It had some chili in it. Tasty as buggery and as painful as the next day. Apparently.