lardbucket: terraces

3/17/2017

Terraces

Filed under: Travel — Andy @ 4:20 pm

We had a bit of a late start today, given the late arrival yesterday. Breakfast was another buffet, again with broadly similar things as there other hotels. I had a number of things: chocolate rice krispies (or knockoffs thereof), bacon, “carrot bread” (tasted remarkably like normal wheat bread), watermelon, “chocolate donut” (a bread puff with a small amount of chocolate drizzled on it), and probably something else I’m forgetting.


After that, we piled in to the van for a 2.5 hour drive to our main destination for the day: the terraced rice fields.


First, we stopped by a village with one of China’s ethnic minorities, the Yao(?). They’re at the base of the mountain we were headed up, and are apparently known for their women growing their hair very long (~1.8 meters on a 1.5 meter woman is apparently common). They curl it up into what I gather is a very large bun (I lack sufficient knowledge of womens’ hair terms) and wrap it around their head. Apparently the covering or lack thereof indicates the marital status and number of children each woman has. I don’t have any pictures, as that seemed a bit rude given their proximity.

There was a significant amount of new construction going on, apparently both because tourism to the village is recent (and provides an influx of cash and a reason to build more infrastructure) and because winter is typically their building season: being largely farmers, they’re busy much of the rest of the year.


After that village, we went on a relatively short ride up the hill. (Or is it a mountain? Somewhere around a 600m elevation change.) There was another village, with another ethnic minority (although I’ve forgotten their name). This village had opened for tourism earlier, and was better set up for it. Lots of restaurants, cafes, stores with souvenirs, and so on. They even had a couple of hotels, coming in around 100 yuan a night in the off season (~$15).


While there, we opted for a lunch before going hiking. We got pork with bamboo shoots, beef with green peppers (that turned out to be jalapeƱos, we think), and green beans and eggplant. In addition, we got bamboo rice, which is sticky rice, corn, and bacon all stuck in a cell of a two year old bamboo tree and roasted, then cut open for eating. We also got some beer and sticky rice wine to try. (Sticky rice wine is apparently 12-15% alcohol, versus rice wine, which is closer to 50%.)


When we finished that, we headed on a hike with a lot of steps. I’m sure I’ll put together better panoramas later, but I’ll just dump a few photos for the moment. The fog came and went pretty quickly, and did so several times while we were hiking around.


When we finally finished, we went for another 2.5 hour drive back to the hotel. Everyone (except the driver!) took a nap. When we got back, my parents headed to the hotel room, while our guide and I went towards a noodle restaurant so he could show me where it was for dinner. He wrote down phrases for all the combinations of large and medium orders of noodles with pork and beef, as well as how to request no fried soybeans (I thought he meant soybean products, rather than just the bean, but whatever). I kept that for later.

Our hotel is the “waterfall hotel”, which has a display with lights every night at 8:30, so we went to that first. It was a bit anticlimactic, as it was really just a bunch of water going down the building lit with white lights. Impressive, but given that there were fountains in front, we figured it would be more colorful or with synchronized fountains, or something. 


Either way, we went to dinner after that. I used my sheet of translations, but ended up ordering two medium orders and one large, all with soybeans, rather than the two mediums we had intended. It all worked out, though. (Mediums were about $0.60, larges about $0.80.) There were some entertaining times when the person taking our order would ask a question in Mandarin and I’d just shrug and vaguely indicate in English that I didn’t understand, and they’d look confused for a second and make a decision. I got a similar response from the cooks, where I gave the international “I have no clue” shrug, and they made some decision, before apparently trying to ascertain if I wanted a take out bowl or a metal “I’m sitting here” bowl. They held up a paper bowl, I gave a thumbs up to indicate that it seemed like the right direction from simply having a few noodles in a larger bowl, and they seemed pleased. We couldn’t quite figure out what was supposed to happen afterward, but my mom found a canister of hot water, and we added some to our bowls. Hopefully it had been boiling for long enough, but we’ll see. The people working at the restaurant also indicated that perhaps we should use what appeared to be a teapot full of soy sauce, but we declined. Anyway, it turned out fine, and tasted reasonable.


Finally, we walked back past a bunch of shops and settled in at our hotel for the night. 

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