We've been back from our trip about a month now and I'm still, slowly but surely, posting about it. Today I'll be sharing stories and pictures about our trip to the Longsheng rice terraces. The rice fields look different at different times of the year, and we went at about the time the rice was being planted, so the terraces were just water. Google "Longsheng" and you'll see many gorgeous pictures of what it can look like at various times of the year. This was one place I knew we would be visiting before we flew over and I was so excited as I looked over all the pictures Google had to offer of this amazing place.
Before traveling up to the rice terraces our tour group stopped in a village (the first few pictures). I look back at the pictures now and it's hard to believe I ever got to experience a place with such beauty. The river running through the middle of the village was absolutely beautiful. There were a couple bridges like the one pictured below that we crossed over. With no supports underneath, we were swaying back and forth the entire time crossing over. The bridges seemed questionable but they were fun!
There were several little old ladies, just like the one pictured above, that sold items to tourists. They had all kinds of things like purses, bags, jewelry, and probably other things I can't remember. It was so funny because of how persistent they were! I was walking in the back of our line with my grandma's friend's young daughter and a few ladies were persistently waving their merchandise at both of us. I used what Chinese I knew to let them know I didn't want to buy anything, and waved my hands in case they only spoke a dialect. It was very obvious I didn't want to buy anything, but they and the little girl (only four years old) followed me, not seeming to be able to take no for an answer. They finally left us alone after my grandma's friend bought her daughter a necklace. It was pretty funny to me just how persistent they could be!
An interesting fact about this particular village we were in, is that the ladies never cut their hair. They believe that hair represents life, so the longer their hair, the longer their life. It is always pinned up, but they will sometimes let it down for tourists, although I never got to see it and wish I had. Before a woman is married, she keeps her hair twisted and covered on top of her head, only letting it down on her wedding night. Once she has children, she keeps in it twisted in a knot on the front of her head, like you can kind of see in the picture of the lady above.
This is the restaurant we stopped at for lunch. Chinese food is so good. I really miss it and it's making me hungry right now just thinking about it ;). We all got pretty good at using chopsticks (we had to!), and I miss those too and having been meaning to find the ones we have here at home. Eggplant, greens, potatoes, eggs, pork, chicken, and beef are all very popular. Peanuts are pretty popular too and SO good. Oh, and of course rice! I've had many people say something about how we must have eaten a lot of rice while we were there, but the funny thing is, we didn't eat as much of it as you would think. Rice is like our rolls, served at most meals. It's not usually eaten as a dish on it's own though, but more of the base for the rest of your food. They eat all of their food in one bowl of rice, piling on their meet or vegetables, and just eating however much rice they want with it. Double-dipping isn't considered rude to them, because most Chinese use their own chopsticks and dish food off of the main plates as they want it. It was a different way of eating a meal, but one I really enjoyed.
Notice the teeny tiny buildings, and barely even noticeable flags, in the picture below? That was how far we walked up this mountain. All the way to the end of the trail to see the view in the picture above.