LongShen and Yangshuo

I must apologize for the delay in posting. For the last couple of days in China, I did not have internet access and thus, it was impossible to post anything. When I got home, things got a little crazy and with the holidays upon us, well, I forgot to post my latest blog. So, here it is, two weeks late, my final blog about my trip:

After a very stressful flight, I made it to Guilin and eventually up to Long Sheng. We only stayed one night in Guilin but I could have stayed a couple more days. Not only was the weather amazing – 65 degrees in December – the city was just fun. There were little shops everywhere, every type of restaurant you could imagine, a cute little park, a river running through the city (clean enough that you could swim in it, a rare sight in China) and the people were incredibly nice. I really wish we could have stayed longer. The next day; however, we took a bus up (and hiked up) to the mountains to spend a couple of days in Long Sheng. The hike was difficult; although, I don’t think it would have been as bad had I not been carrying twenty extra pounds of luggage. I suppose that is my own fault though,  for being too stubborn to let anyone help me or pay one of the locals to carry it. Needless to say, when I got to our hotel, I collapsed. I think that has to be one of the hardest hikes I have been on but in my defense, it was all stairs.

Long Sheng is a mountain village of sorts. There are about ten different ethnic minorities that live in these mountains, all with their own dress and customs. I am not sure what group we were living with but they made beautiful clothes, scarves and purses. They also had their own style of dress that I have never seen before. The ladies all wore head dresses that dictated their marital status and whether or not they had children. They were all very nice despite constantly trying to sell us things. The only attraction in Long Sheng, other than the diverse culture, was the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces. The rice terraces span across about 16,310 acres and run from the valley, which is about 900ft above sea level, to the mountains, which is about 4000ft above sea level.  It is said that in this part of the country, where there is soil, there is a terrace. As beautiful as this place was, I have to say that there was not a lot to do. You could hike around and/or talk to the locals but that was about it. I hiked around for a few hours but the all the hiking, like the hike up, consisted of stairs. After being in China for this long, I think I  have developed a slight aversion to stairs. I am almost dreading coming home for the mere fact that my apartment is on the second story. Please, no more stairs! I might have to install an escalator…

Our next stop and probably my favorite place to visit was Yangshuo. This had to be the most relaxing part of the entire two week trip. We went river drifting, shopped, ate good food, and basically just relaxed. Yangshuo seemed to be the place to go for international travelers. There were restaurants and people from every corner of the globe.  I met people from Australia, Great Brittan, USA, and Eastern Europe. The bakery next door to our hotel was owned by a woman from Belgium who came to Yangshuo, fell in love with the place, stayed and opened up a bakery.  It was a cultural melting pot. I am glad this was the last city of the two week study trip.

Back to Beijing I go, where the weather is 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, I will only be there for a couple days before it is time to go home.

Until next time,

Ashley

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