While I enjoyed the city of Guilin, it was bigger and more commercialized than I expected. It wasn’t until the second day when we escaped to the mountains that I really enjoyed the Guangxi Province.
Our tour guide for the hike to the first village was the lady seen above. Despite being more than a foot shorter than most of us, she was a tank. She walked far faster than us up the mountains, not needing to catch her breath. When I asked her how long she had been hiking the mountains she said, “63 years.”
By the time we reached the first village, our first tour guide was replaced with a man in his 20’s. He chain-smoked the entire time, yet somehow still had the lung capacity to power through the mountains without breaking a sweat.
Longji terraces were first cultivated in the Yuan Dynasty during the 13th century. Since then the Zhuang and Yao (ethnic minorities) have been working the land. While most terraces are used for growing rice, some are also used for raising other vegetables.They are designed in different shapes, including towers (one acre), and snails (3 acres).
Despite the terraces increasingly becoming a tourist destination, I ran into few people during my trip here. My only regret about this experience was not spending the night in a guesthouse.
On another note, we’ll be in Vietnam tomorrow! I have a field lab tomorrow that involves visiting the Ho Chi Minh City war museums and analyzing the slant that they place on the war, followed by a field program in the Cu Chi tunnels the following day.
An excellent blog to follow for anyone interested is Semester at Sea’s official blog, News from the Helm. One of their latest videos, From Caterpillar to Kimino, was filmed during my cultural anthropology field lab. I highly recommend checking it out: