Almost everyone assumed that we had reached the official spot to get the best view of the "Seven Stars with the Moon" but that's not the truth; there's another way up and i wouldn't have noticed it if not for the search of a washroom to release the tension in my bladder.
The journey up was one of absolute peacefulness - businesses appeared to be slow and i am not surprised as i encountered only a handful of people; like maybe 5 along the way.
Clear signage showing the way to Seven Stars with the Moon. To be fair, i believe many would not want to further strain their calves by making the extra hike and most are like my parents' age. .
Memorable childhood toys that were way better looking than the ones we had back in our days. For us then, one long branch with a much shorter one would make a sword after securing both together with grass.
A few more photographs for your viewing pleasure.
Quite scary to know that they were just pronged up on at side. Should there be any heavy rain like the kind we see in Singapore, the support would likely be eroded in no time!
Reaching the destination! I was actually alone at this point as dad was busy taking photographs at the place near the washroom. However, i did tell him i would be going up and expected him to join me shortly.
Hm.... From the look of it, it looked like a larger than your usual courtyard with surrounding shops where you can make your purchases of local mementos.
A bird's eye view of Ping An village although i am disinclined to use the word "village" since there were a number of towering buildings which i assumed to be guesthouses for tourists.
There were washrooms in the same compound and best of all, there's no charge. The toilet that i had shared earlier had an exorbitant charge of RMB 2 (about Singapore 50 cents; in our little red dot, usual pricing would be about 20 cents).
Compared to the earlier spot, you may rest and relax by the teahouse where you can indulge in local cuisine and / or perk your senses with a cup of fresh ground coffee!
Wait, there's more than just the shops and toilets. Why do they have another direction showing the way to "Seven Stars with the Moon"? Isn't this it?
Oh my god, i almost missed the viewing platform for "Seven Stars with the Moon"! I only happened to look at the banner when a group of tourists making their way down from the stairs!
For those who would be making the journey to Longji Terraced Fields, do keep a lookout for the spot with three red flags! That's your eventual destination for the tedious climb!
The breathtaking sight ahead of me; a view that i am sure my dad would love! Pity the clouds were too low-lying and i couldn't really make out where the stars and moon were.
Those at the viewing platform were disappointed and i bet most of them were hoping that the clouds would dissipate soon.
A rustic wooden cafe was conveniently located at the platform and as i was waiting for my dad, i figured a can of ice-cold soft drink would help me enjoy the view better.
There were homemade beverages like the lohan drink made with local spring water. As i was sweating profusely after the long climb, a cold drink was very much preferred.
Dad was taking quite a while to arrive and i almost contemplated taking up a Chinese comic book with graphics that seemed to belong to my parents' era (50s, 60s maybe).
I abandoned that thought as it's the moment that i should relish and it's better for my eyes to soak in the mountain atmosphere! All those greenery could only be good for my nearsightedness.
Plastic bottles dumped at one side, marring the picturesque scenery encountered so far; i wondered if they would eventually be recycled.
From the platform, i can even see the spot which was assumed to be the topmost spot before i noticed there's another way up! Those two (father & daughter) were my tour mates and i tried screaming for them; even with my loud-speaker voice, i failed to attract their attention.
Part of the iconic rice fields; the tour guide explained earlier in the coach that should we arrive two weeks or a month before, we would have seen the rice fields before they were harvested.
A local i corresponded with told me the four seasons in the country would result in four stunning sights of Longji Terraced Fields; to add salt to my injury, he forwarded me four photographs taken in all four seasons! Bloody!
This was taken from a photograph right outside the cafe; honestly, i have no idea what and where the seven stars and moon were. Nevertheless, it's not so much the terminology that attracts tourists; it's the scenery.
We continued to be overwhelmed by the clouds which would likely stay in the air for quite a while; for a person on tour package, time wasn't really on our side.
Strangely, our guide didn't specify a time for us to leave even though i am getting anxious and worried as my dad had taken far too much time to reach the platform.
I kept glancing towards this direction to catch sight of him and no, he didn't appear. A few tour mates actually came up to the platform and when asked if they had seen my father, the response was negative.
Clouds cleared for just that moment and i was lamenting in my heart that my dad would have his photo taken if he had reached. In the back of my head, i told myself i hoped he didn't walk the dirt path leading to the farms.
Anyway, he's an adult and i trust he knew what he was doing. On second thought, while writing this post, i think we all have to remember our parents would grow old; their physical state would get frailer and their memory would be fuzzier as time goes. I should have been more mindful during the trip.
One of the mountains; unlike in South Korea and Taiwan, there wasn't any panel explaining to us on the sights in front of us.
From the photograph, i can photoshop in a few flaming red tongues and you would be convinced that there might be a fire roaring in the village.
In reality, the clouds fleeted away rapidly although new clouds would also take over their place immediately. That's the problem with nature; you can never second-guess it!
At one particular moment, i noticed another structure on the opposite mountain; there were people (tourists i presume) standing along the fence and i had a feeling that was the other scenic spot at Ping An Village; Nine Dragons Five Tigers (九龙五虎).
Close up view of the village segment with a higher density of housing.
More photos for your viewing pleasure again as i had too much time to while away and my dad were still missing! To say i am not very concerned would be a bluff; i am dead worried!
A final panoramic photo taken using my iPhone. With the advancement in camera technology in mobile phones it's only a matter of time that Nikon, Canon etc would lose out in the consumer camera segment.
Now's time for me to undertake the most important mission of all time; to locate my dad! The "farm" route i mentioned earlier is actually at the bottom of the staircase, to the right side of the above photograph.
Do check out my posting on the summarised itinerary of Chan Brother's tour package (guaranteed no factory shopping stops) to Guilin; it would give you a better overview of my trip. :)