About an hour into the trip we stopped at a Chinese servo for a short break where we sampled fruit from to road side stalls. The apples Ian purchased were the largest and tastiest I have ever eaten.
This was our first toilet ‘Chinese’ style and lets just say it will be forever burned in the memories of those who needed to use the facilities. On arrival at the base of the mountain we transferred to a smaller bus with a driver experienced for the climb up the mountainside.
This ride was exciting to say the least, how do you know if someone coming around the single lane hair pin bend…. honk your horn and gun it… and hope for the best !!!! and with only what seemed like endless hairpin bends and all at 40-60km hour.
At the start of the hiking section we all piled out and we made the fantastic climb to Dragon Backbone’s Rice Terraces is the most amazing terrace in China! Construction of the terraces began in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and continued until the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when construction was completed. The Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces are the culmination of both the profound wisdom and strenuous labor of the Zhuang people.
Twenty (the whole group) of us started out and twenty of us made it to the top. It was worth every step and I mean steps, it was a constant climb. I wanted to count the steps but need every once of my strength and endurance to get up there. On the way up very kind stall holder who had little english but still offered Sharpy a chair when he stopped for a spell half way up the never ending trail.
After the traditional group picture we headed back down and were lucky enough to see a water buffalo plowing one of the terraces.
Half way down we sampled an authentic Chinese lunch including sticky rice cooked in bamboo and completed our walking section with some serious scarf shopping we climbed aboard our (we hope) trusty little bus for the return journey down the mountain.
If we thought we needed to hang on the ride up the hill it was nothing compared to coming down it felt coming down off the mountain at Bathurst raceway over and over again with the added bonus of oncoming buses, not sure if driver was standing on the brakes or the horn more when diving into the tight little turns.
Tomorrow, we take a 4-hour boat ride down Li River to Yangshuo, as long as there are no steps all will be well. We will be staying at Yangshuo for next two nights.