In August 2009, while our Korean students were on their summer break, Rob and I went on a 3+ week trip to China and Japan. There was a point in my life where I really had no interest in seeing Asia. I wanted to see Europe! Then we moved to Korea and I was pretty upset by the end of our year there that we’d only been able to travel to Thailand. Having lived on the continent for a year made us really want to see more of it, and was the biggest influence in our deciding to go back to Korea for another year and a half.
Our summer vacation started in China. It’s a huge country, and I’ll freely admit I’m infatuated. There is no way you could do justice to China in a year, let alone two weeks and a few days. But, as was now our way, we greedily packed in as much as we could. Based in Guilin at one point, we made a day trip to Longsheng, which is knows for its rice terraces, and nicknamed “the Dragon’s Backbone.”
The terraces were stunning, and most likely even more so during planting season, when they are layer upon layer of water. The day was 37 degrees Celsius without the humidity (which was about 100%), as was most of our trip. We had a long bus ride, during which our tour guide spoke Chinese for two solid hours. Thankfully the scenery was phenomenal. After switching halfway to an alpine bus, we could go no further, and started the hike up the mountain. Wow.
Lunch was bamboo-cooked rice and chicken. They take hallowed out bamboo and stuff it, then cook it over an open fire, which resulted in a caramelize and smokey taste. The rice was cooked with corn and some sort of berry, and the chicken was spiced with chunks of ginger. The view while we ate couldn’t be beat.Longsheng is a popular Chinese tourist destination, and the paths around the mountain town were lined with local people selling their wares. When we came back down the mountain, some of our tour group went on an additional guided tour/show. We stayed local, and had a swim in the amazingly clear water. Children were splashing about everywhere while women in colourful scarves and headdresses did their washing in the river. If you ever get a chance to go to China, I highly recommend checking out the rice terraces. You’ll feel like you’re in another world. And you will be!