Yuanyang Rice Terraces
Trip Start Sep 04, 2010
6Trip End Sep 26, 2010
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In the morning I set off to the bus station armed with my English/Chinese slip from the hostel to show the taxi. I made a concerted effort to learn Chinese before I left the states, however, I would soon find out it wouldn't get me too far.
The driving in Yunnan was quite a sight to see. My road rage would do me no good here. The things they pull would probably give me a heart attack or ulcer if I complained every time someone did something to piss me off. I'm not quite sure why they have lane lines because they do whatever the hell they please including driving the wrong way down the street, coming within inches of the neighboring car in order to butt in front and turning where there is no turn allowed. Even though I am a pretty aggressive driver at home, I definitely couldn't handle driving here. They would chew me up and spit me out and then run me over.
After an enlightening ride to the bus station I entered only to find I couldn't decipher the characters enough to figure out which ticket window to go up to. Not being able to communicate is one if the most humbling experiences. I can't imagine immigrating into a country where you have never even been to live, let alone knowing very little of the language. So, I chose a window and in my best Chinese asked for a ticket to Yuanyang. The lady looked at me and yelled out something quickly in Chinese and pointed down the way. So I went down a few windows and asked again and was successful.
I thought I better hit the facilities before boarding the bus and it was another "Welcome to China" experience. I knew it was coming eventually but was hoping it wouldn't be so soon. I got in line for the toilet. Lines--a concept many Chinese fail to understand but in a place with 4.23 billion people it's survival of the fittest even in the public bathroom. After fending off a few ladies I managed to get a stall. I opened the door to find my first filthy squat toilet and immediately came back out, hoping I'd score a sit toilet that was a bit cleaner. Yeah didn't happen so I succumbed and when in China did as the Chinese.
Next obstacle figuring out which bus to board. I went outside and compared the characters on my ticket to the ones written on the bus window. Not too bad. I was relieved to be bound for my destination. The bus driver drove like a bat outta hell the whole seven hours, running up on vehicles, swerving, and honking every time he passed another vehicle. My fellow passengers were smoking on the bus and spitting luggies into the small trash cans that lined the aisle. When we finally arrived at the first stop I was ready, willing and able to get off the bus and
I finally arrived in Xin Jie and quickly went to the nearest hotel the Yunti Shunjie Hotel, got me a room and booked a guide and driver to take me to the various rice terrace spots the following day. After settling in I went out to the square with camera and tripod in tow for the sunset. There were many curious onlookers. While I was waiting for the waning sun the local minority women began dancing in the square while the men smoked and spit. There was also a makeshift sandbox on the square which consisted of a tarp with some dirt spread on it for the children to play. It was quite a gathering which I imagine takes place every evening.
After the morning excursion, I was dropped off at my hotel and even though I was dead tired I told myself I had to capitalize on every free moment I had. I hired a taxi to take me down the mountain 4 miles to Longshuba rice terraces.
I arrived back in town with enough time for lunch, a shower and a nap.
My favorite spot of the day was Qingkou. There was a local farmer out with his water buffaloes. The water buffaloes were busy feeding on the tea leaves and flowers. The last spot of the evening was Laohuzi or Tiger's Mouth.
The ride back to Kunming was much more pleasant with new friends, and as an added bonus, only one passenger lit up about an hour before we arrived. We settled in and had dinner at The Hump and met a few guys, Harry from England, Michael from Belgium and Murtaza from Australia. We all went out to a local club and danced till 4:00 in the morning. After a brief rest we said our goodbyes the following morning and we each headed off to different parts of China.