I am up early for my trip to the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces in Longsheng County, China. This is such a huge wish list item for me and I just cannot believe I am finally going to visit a rice terrace!
I booked the trip through my hostel in Guilin. It cost me 220 RMB ($35 USD) for the tour. This is considered a very expensive tourist attraction for China. I still think it was a bargain.
I had to meet my bus outside. While waiting, I met a guy who was staying in my hostel, who was also making the trip. Typical me felt like an asshole for not wanting to make a new friend.
I know there are a lot of shy people out there who find making conversation with strangers very painful. See, the thing about me is that I am not shy. At all. I just honestly prefer my own company. I don’t think talking to strangers is scary, I think it is exhausting. I have had so many people come in and out of my life that I am just honestly happier when I am all by myself. It is easier.
Fortunately, my new almost-friend did not sit next to me on the bus. I felt relief and again, felt like an asshole.
The bus was hot and the vents were blowing hot air. Then we came upon a traffic accident and got stuck for over an hour in traffic. Get on the bus, burning. Get off the bus, pouring rain.
While I was alternating between the discomfort of pouring rain and bigger discomfort of burning bus, I noticed a couple wearing the same outfit. While this was the first time I saw this in China, it was not the last. It seems this is the “in” thing to do. Boyfriends and girlfriends wearing the same outfit, usually a t-shirt with some cutesy character on it. I saw everything from Minnie Mouse to Sponge Bob Squarepants and tons of characters I did not recognize.
When we got to Longsheng, we had to transfer from our bus to another bus that was suited to drive up narrow and windy roads. Then we got to the rice terraces and ate lunch at the rice terraces restaurant, which is for sure a kickback type of thing for the tour company. We were also presented with the opportunity to buy perfume on the way home, same deal.
The restaurant was pretty cheap and it was really good. There was such an adorable puppy wandering around. I wanted to steal him.
My friend from the hostel asked if he could sit with me. He is from the States and has been working in Shanghai. He had five weeks left in China between the end of his job and returning home so off he goes to see the country.
At the rice terraces, you have options. You can walk up and down, or take a cable car. You can also mix and match and take a cable car one way and walk the other. The cable car cost is in addition to the tour that I paid for at my hotel. We all made our choices (mine was to take a cable car up and then walk down) and paid the driver’s assistant on the bus. A one way cable car ride was 70 RMB ($11.41 USD.)
We shared the cable car ride. Again, introverted me kind of wanted to be alone. Oh woe is me, some nice guy is trying to be friendly with me. Wah. Yes, I know.
The cable car reeked of cat but at least it was open.
The rice terraces, WOW. I have wanted to see one for so long. It is astounding how beautiful they are. The idea that this is all man made is crazy.
As if that wasn’t enough, I also got to see an adorable mother and puppy:
Since it had been raining, everything is wet and slippery. Add to that my gripping fear that I am going to fall and twist my ankle on these horrible steps. They kept alternating in both size and steepness.
I decided to get a head start walking down. It was really bad in some spots and then it happened – I actually fell and slid down a few steps. Of course, by this time some people had caught up to me and saw it. I wasn’t really embarrassed but it turned into this whole thing with Chinese people who do not speak English, trying to show me how to walk down the stairs. Meanwhile they all have tiny feet that fit on the smaller steps and I have big dopey Westerner feet that do not.
I keep going and slipping and freaking out. Then my friend from the hostel catches up to me. This poor guy. He was so nice. There were spots where he would hold my hand and guide me. There were spots where I just all out could not handle how uneven and broken the path was. I would have to sit down and scoot my way down because walking was not going to happen.
Meanwhile I am sweating and it is pouring into my eyes AND my glasses kept fogging up. I was such a mess. My poor friend would not leave me, and I felt horrible that I was holding him up. I was so scared we were going to miss the bus.
Finally we get all the way down to the town and OH HEY I MADE IT!
We probably had literally like one minute before the bus left. Whew!
This is the guy who was super nice enough to make sure I made it down okay. I never even bothered to learn his name. Those of you who prefer solitude in life will understand. Those of you who enjoy human interaction will think I am a big bitch. Those who prefer solitude in life will understand that I don’t care who thinks I am a bitch because the more people who think I am a bitch = the less people who try and talk to me. Those who don’t understand are now thinking I am vain and think I am better than everyone. I am not sure why that tends to be the natural progression, but I have dealt with the internet cutting me down long enough that I recognize the pattern, however odd it is.
When we got back to Guilin, I stopped to get some milk tea. When I stepped out of the store, I saw a circle of little boys with their pants down, hands around their backs, having a pee off right there on the sidewalk. No one passing by even gave a double take. Sigh…China.