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Published: April 15th 2010
Day 136: Monday, April 12th, 2010.
Chengyang to Ping An (Longji Terraces)
, China. Per Intrepid Notes, "Days 18-19 Longji Terraces
After we return to Sanjiang by private transfer (approx. 1 hour), our journey continues by local bus, as we cross the ancestral home of many of Southeast Asia's minority hilltribes to reach the Longji Valley (approx. 6 hours). Known as the Dragon's Backbone, this region is a remarkable feat of engineering, with rice terraces covering entire mountainsides. On arrival in Longji, we embark on an uphill trek (approx. 30 mins) to our guesthouse in a small hillside village. Our family-run wooden guesthouse is clean and twin-share. Most rooms have private bathrooms.
On day 19 we take a day-long hike through the Longji Valley to visit local hilltribe communities and learn about village life. Expect to carry your own daypack and walk for up to five hours as our accommodation is in a different village. The hike can be tough going for some, with many uphill stretches and some very slippery paths. However, more experienced hikers will have no problems and there are many more optional walks available, uncovering great photo opportunities around every corner. This region boasts some of the most extensive
rice terraces you'll ever see, and the fields change with the seasons, going from iridescent in spring, to green in summer, gold in autumn and white with snow in winter.
For the days in the Longji rice terraces, you will need a daypack. All large packs will stay in storage at Longshen for 2 nights, to be picked up before our train journey to Shenzhen"
So today consisted of 3 buses and then a 30 minute "trek" up to our hotel in the Longji Terraces (town of Ping An
). The buses were packed and we were lucky to have seats- others stood in the aisle. We stopped at a small town, about an hour outside of the Terraces, and dropped off our big bags at a hotel that locks them up for us. Since we'd be "treking", we only brought the basics in small bags. We get to the Terraces and, to quote Eddie Izzard, "Fog, there's fog!!" Low visibility, to put it lightly!
So, 30 minutes of climbing up stone stairs in the fog. It was very pretty and surreal, but also exhausting. I had enough energy to tell Ling, "this sucks" at one point and then went back
to breathing like Darth Vader. Don't think I would have been able to do that climb 5 months ago- thank Jeebus traveling has gotten me in better shape. We get to our hotel and Rita and I head up to our room. Once again, very basic, but clean at least. I try messing with the heater (now that my Jane Fonda workout is done I'm starting to feel how cold it is) but can't get it to work- needs a remote and I can't find one. We head back down to the lobby and you cannot see outside past the porch- the fog is that dense. Plus, it's starting to rain. So, we all (Ling included) decide to do the orientation walk tomorrow and we settle into the lobby to play some Mahjong. We had lunch and dinner at the hotel- all very good. That night, Dick teaches us how to play bridge and I find that I don't have the temperament for it. Mom always said it was similar to Sergeant Major (which we used to play) and I can see that, but add in many more confusing rounds and rules.
Before going to bed, I ask the
front desk if they can get the heat working in the room (or anywhere in the hotel for that matter- it's fucking cold everywhere!) That's when I find out that you have to pay an additional 30 Yuan (which is only about $4.50 US). I wonder how bad can it get, decline to pay, and head to bed. Foreshadow much?
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