In the Wind and Rain

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June 24th 2009
Published: June 26th 2009
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Most of you (including myself) would be surprised that I ended up back in China since my last visit didn't leave me with a burning desire to go back (it may have had to do with the 40 degree heat and the all city tours). I wanted remote China and this trip through Guangxi (southern China) gave me just that. No other foreigners in sight for days and it was delightful to be able to stare blankly at touts when they tried to talk to me only in Mandarin.

Hua Shan: Checking out the remote Hua Shan area a few hours away from the Vietnamese-China border and visiting the Zhuang minority villages. We were able to visit the Unesco world heritage Hua Shan Bihua cliff art site likely painted by the Zhuang minority 2000 years ago.

Water buffalo: I never understood the Asian obsession with the water buffalo but after spending time here, I've also fallen in love and secretly wish I could put one in my bag. They're incredibly gentle creatures who just stare at you with their big brown eyes and are happiest when buried neck deep in a muddy pond or river. Sadly, my foreign smells are a bit suspect to them and it would take a lot of coaxing to get them even near my bag.

Chengyang: This remote area is famous for its Wind & Rain wooden bridges built by the Dong people held together without any nails. The houses themselves are constructed out of wood and I was secretly relieved it rained after a lightning storm one night. Being placed on the 5th floor of our guesthouse was not ideal for a fire escape getaway.

Longsheng: It was here that the weather decided to bless us with pouring rain as we hiked high in the hills traversing rice terraces to get between the minority villages. I think I pull off the drowned rat look quite well.

Mongol Heritage: With my last few blog entries, it has been a running joke that each country I have passed through seems to think I'm one of their own. Yet, in China... I'm immediately recognized as Han Chinese. I'm part of the majority here and all of us as enfants had a small blueish mark on our lower backs. This is supposedly the royal mark indicating that we are descendants from the Mongols

This was not the cliff art but did resemble a fisherman?
(does this mean I have Barbarian blood running through my veins? Cool!). Our guide also claimed that the Han had beauty marks around the mouth that pointed out our love of eating (I won't disagree with that claim!).

Cockroaches: In case you thought everything has been lovely, China has decided to keep things "real". In my case, that has meant sending cockroaches into each of my hotel rooms for a week. I think the current score is Laura: 5, Cockroaches: 2 (that got away). Each and every time I seem to start screaming and laughing hysterically while my group leader tries to kill them for me so I can go to sleep. To put it in context, I wouldn't mind if the bug was small but its a different matter entirely when its the size of my thumb or pinky finger. Thankfully, its not of the hissing variety.

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