Friday, April 22, 2016

Longji Terraced Fields Scenic Area (平安壮族梯田景观区) @ Ping An Zhuang Terraced Fields Spot [Longsheng County, Guangxi Province, China]

I couldn't wait to get this post out of the way as i have been procrastinating for far too long; and rightfully so since there are close to a hundred photos! Be prepared for the long photo post!

After going through the village on a somewhat comfortable upward climb, this would be the treacherous stretch that our guide had warned us about. See that structure with three red flags? That's our destination to catch the sight known as seven stars with the moon (七星伴月)!

With base made up purely of stacked up stones, i wonder if it can withstand any upheavals by mother Gaia. Nevertheless, the lazy urbanite in me does find it incredible that someone can build a shelter with natural resources.

Small little shops dotted the way although i did realise that business wasn't booming; guess everyone was just too focused on making their way up.

此地无银三百兩 - i heard of this phrase many time but i actually didn't attempt to find out what is its meaning; i just found out it means "a clumsy denial resulting in self-exposure".

Chilli that didn't succeed in attracting my attention except for the fact that they all looked spicy hot - a taste i find hard to accept; a bit of chilli is fine. Too much kind of spoil the food in my opinion.

Stairs are generally not my enemies; many many stairs are! This reminded me of my hike to Hallasan when the stairs seemed to stretch ever and ever.

Eh..... which way should i go since both directions point towards the same scenic spot. Oh well, that's the reason why i signed up with a tour agency; just follow your guide,

This is my dad by the way. With his look, he can gel pretty well as one of the local folks. The only issue was his dark complexion; many thought he is more Thai than Chinese.

In essence, a beautiful artwork if placed in a city gallery but to the locals, it's a culmination of years of knowledge passed down from generations for one need; survival.

I was complaining about the climb for Hallasan earlier; the good thing about this climb to check out seven stars with the moon (七星伴月) was easier with many turns and buildings that caught your attention.

Like this Old Place with what appeared to be newly installed doors. No longer that old if you ask me. It's supposed to be a place for accommodation with provision of coffee / tea and bamboo rice.

Signboards were conveniently placed at junctures where a decision had to be made.

Note to those who are making the trip; this is a living village, one with villagers still going on their lives just like their forefathers. Hence, don't expect the place to be smelling of flowers and fragrances from air diffusers etc.

Stairs, stairs everywhere!

For someone who is 64, dad is a springy one; hope he stays this way as long as he could. There are so many places in China that he has yet to visit and i can feel his excitement and happiness whenever he talks about certain scenic places in China.

Multi-storey buildings - not exactly the kind of structures expected in a village.

At this point, two of our tour mates had given up!

Lingzhi mushrooms from the mountains - in many legends and wuxia novels, a lingzhi that's said to be a thousand years old can work miracles for your body.

Passing clouds!

Narrow path leading up the mountains and the path appeared to be well liked by the chickens; there were chicken poo every few steps!!! Disgust set in when your nostrils are just filled with the smell of freshly excreted chicken shit!

I had to juggle with looking out for chicken shit and reducing the risk of falling down the slope where i might have to face even more chicken poo from the village house. 

The born and bred kampong boys men displayed nonchalance though; i was from the kampong although i wasn't immersed deep enough and left for HDB flats when i was six. 

Sight in front of those uncles. It was surreal in reality, like paradise even though on pictures, the view was nothing great. 

Ancient-looking grandma marketing her wares; as tourists, we felt pity for her as she was already so old yet had to continue working. The strange thing was that many foreigners viewed us similarly; with many wondering why many ah ma and ah gong in Singapore are working when they should have been retired. 

Out to the clearing and i knew we were near to our eventual stop! 

Did the few photographs above draw your breath away? It sure did for one who was standing right there marveling at the sights in front of him. 

The rice fields remained in operation with villagers working their ass off to prepare for the next harvest. Personally, i feel that tourism would destroy the traditional way of life for many villages. If tourist dollars are lucrative enough, many would abandon agriculture for tourism. 

By the way, a long flight of steps awaited us! 

So shiok for the person on the personal sedan! Never mind, i just to grill the concept that the more i exercise my feet, the higher the chance of shedding off the fats! It's a matter of conviction! 

Stalls selling knitted products, silverware can be found along the way which impeded the traffic; you just need a group of 20 to hover around the shop and there's minimal space for you to squeeze past them!

Nope, these traditional attire were not for sale; you can rent them and be a local for that few minutes! Business was not good for a simple reason.

Too foggy; clouds came and went rapidly and it's hard to grasp the weather conditions. Many were just bidding their time for a comfortable enough window before they fork out their money.

I did attempt some pictures; they were alright but wouldn't be considered as good for printing.

Pure wild honey and honeycombs for sale; i was so tempted to buy them! Anyone still remember the two kilograms of honey i specially checked in from Taiwan!? 

Sample photographs when the weather condition was at its optimal level! 

More pictures; there might be duplicates as i took so many; pretty self explanatory as taken from one of the many viewing platforms along the way up.

Thought this would be the final spot as there was a huge crescent moon structure which made for a fantastic backdrop for those who wish to take a picture.  

Dad, like i, wrongly assumed we had cleared our objective.

It was still cloudy and there's no way i can identify the supposed seven stars with a moon from the famous rice fields. Knowing Chinese descriptions, you might need some kind of imagination anyway. 

A low rise farmhouse in the distant and further away, i am guessing it would be another guesthouse for travellers. Weird location as it was in the middle of nowhere! 

No safety harness; nothing except for the clothes and shoes on them! Frankly, i am envious of their courage as there's no way i will stand there without proper safety gear.

Topmost place for supposed the best view of seven stars with a moon! It's at this time that i lost my dad; he was supposed to come up and look for me. However, 30 minutes had passed and he didn't appear! 

I had to go down to look for him; on one hand, i knew he would be alright. On the other hand, i couldn't quite decide as my dad isn't young anymore and he tends to be quite forgetful nowadays. Whatever the case, i calmed myself and continued to take pictures on my way down.

Another spot for photo-taking!

It's at this point that the sky started clearing up and though there was a very slight hazy veil, it was the probably the best view encountered.

So beautiful right?!!?!?

Here's a panoramic view! It's regretful that dad wasn't with me and i was blaming myself for leaving him to look for me when i could have been more patient. 

Even with a much better view, i couldn't quite fathom where the stars and moon were. Those jutting-out green patches looked more like moons than stars to me. 

New objective - find dad! 

Less than a minute later, the whole place was enveloped with clouds again; bringing disappointment to a new group of Caucasian tourists.

Cheaters can stand in front of this life-sized picture banner to take a realistic picture. Okay, "cheaters" is too strong a word and i would like to apologise for this wrong choice of words.

Did you realise that one of the sedan-bearers was almost the same age or even older than the man they were carrying?! 

A narrow path with two-way, single-file traffic was quickly converted into a situation where one side would have to give way to other people going the opposite way. 

More photographs before i said my goodbye to Longji Terraced Fields. I chanced upon quite a few tour mates and none had seen my dad; i was then dead worried he would go the way of the farmland to look for me! 

Keeping a look out for chicken shit again. After a slight drizzle, the odour was almost of nauseating standard! I am surprised i didn't vomit. 

Clear view again.

A muddy path; if i wasn't in a hurry to find my dad, the curious man in me would have gamely checked out the less-accessible areas. 

Weirdly, there were quite a number of dogs but their housebreaking must be damn good as i didn't see any dog poo, or even catch a whiff of it. 

Oh my god, fat hen that mom would happily slaughter for a chicken based dinner. The chicks were so adorable; even if i am curious, i believe in leaving nature as it is. Furthermore, i don't want to risk incurring the wrath of the protective mother hen! 

Sign showing the way down the hill - this is quite near to the hundred year old house. You may read more at this post here

Crops on the rooftop.

Just a few steps away (via a very short detour), you can have a rather good view of the paddy rice fields. Did you notice a man there? I think he was peeing! 

Nearing the Earliest Developed Rice Terraced fields and this was when i saw my dad! He thought i was lost and i thought he was lost! 

At Longji's earliest developed rice terraced fields, which was the area right after the wind-rain bridge and in my post, the official start of the climb to check out the seven stars with the moon.

A grazing horse - have i ever shared that my sister has a thing for horses?! She loves to ride them and i wonder if she was a Mongolian lady in her past life. 

Dad looking like he was totally shagged out; bet i looked just as bad as him. By the way, this was him in front of the wind rain bridge,

Shot taken from wind rain bridge

A look back at Ping An Village as we walked towards the exit. It had been a exhausting walk, no doubt compounded by the worry for losing my dad, yet the view was totally worth it. Could have been better but i am no god to dictate the movement of clouds.

Going up the internal shuttle! 

Those plantations are not the paddy rice fields we came for. I have actually blogged about them here; click the link for more information!

It wouldn't be easy to get into the house; more so if it is raining cats and dogs! What you didn't see are stone steps on the other side. 

Guess where we went before we embarked our tour bus?! To the washrooms once again as it would be so irritating to endure an about-to-burst bladder when you are on a tour! 

Highlight of the day - when i chanced upon a Hallyu star; Running Man's Yoo Jae Suk, also known as Grasshopper! 


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