Greetings from quite literally the middle of nowhere! I’m actually near the small village of Dazhai, which I had my first ever trek in getting to!
After my post yesterday morning I met up with the Quebecois fellow (Guillaume), as well as our new French (Lori) and Chinese (Neo) friends and the four of us trekked together, departing Ping’An around 12:30pm and arriving here about four hours later. It was an exhilarating walk up and down mountains. A trail of stones snaked its way around the now dry rice terraces and through stunningly beautiful vistas.
Along the way, we encountered a local villager that acted as a sort of guide for us, leading us along the path to her village, which was roughly halfway to Dazhai. She carried handicrafts in her basket/backpack and picked up a log along the way. We also encountered other minorities working in the fields, including one that was rinsing plants in a stream to feed to pigs!
The four of us wondered along our extensive hike if what seemed to be the simpler life that these villagers led would be less stressful than the busy lives we leave at home. But thinking about the amount of work that goes into sustaining a village, particularly when dealing with crops, as well as the constant hiking up and down the mountains, we realized it was probably much more difficult than what we had initially thought.
The weather was not terribly cooperative, though as we got going it did begin to clear up a bit. The mist that lingered actually created a beautiful and mysterious quality to the hills. The beauty was that since this is the off-season and the scenery wasn’t at its prime, we were pretty much the only folks around. It’s not often that you can completely escape civilization and be completely alone, but we had that experience on many occasions today!
This truly has been a tremendous experience with good people. We’ve now shared two amazing home cooked local dinners together and shared riveting discussions about our different cultures and the way the world works. We’ve tried new foods together, including a truly awesome variation on rice, which is actually cooked in a piece of bamboo, giving the rice a wonderful smokey taste!
We will share breakfast together tomorrow before parting our different ways. Tomorrow I will take a series of buses back to Ping’An where I may stay for the night depending on how late I arrive. There I will collect my things and then it will be back to Longshen and then off to my next stop…Sanjiang.