China has many faces – in order to get an impression of the life in China outside the big cities we travelled to a county called Longsheng. In comparison to crowded and overloaded metropolis Beijing and Shanghai, the region of Guilin offers a quiet and relaxing atmosphere wihout any smog and skyscrapers. We could not get there with our heavy luggage so we just took a backpack with the necessaties for two days. Looking at the sizes of the bags everyone seemed to have a different opinion on how much you need =).
The journey itself was already quite an adventure. From our hotel in Guilin our bus took 2 hours to arrive at the first parking lot. Traffic laws did seem to matter even less than in the cities and our driver managed to increase our heartbeat quite a few times by overtaking with more or less no sight. From there our group transferred to a smaller bus since the streets were narrow and had sharp turns. After half an hour of bus ride we reached the end of the road. To get to our hotel we walked 20 minutes up the hill, climbing quite a lot of stairs.
Before checking in it was time to stop for lunch. First of all the food was amazing. The highlight was definitly chicken and mushrooms cooked on an openfire in a bamboo cane. Cooking like this is a specialty of this region.
The village which was our goal is called Ping’an. In this area the inhabitants are mainly the Chinese minority groups called Zuhang and Yao. The rice terraces the people are cultivating are estimated to be 650 years old and cover large parts of the surrounding hills. Those facts make the place very unique and creates a wonderful landscape. The inhabitants life of the tourism and sell handcrafted goods alongside the paths.
After we were all full and happy we checked in in our hotel and had a short rest. To have the best views on the rice terraces we organized a two hour roundtrip hike. The weather was not too hot, so climbing the staires was comfortable. The areal view on the top of the hill definitly made it worthwhile. Back at the hotel everyone had some time off to relax. In the evening we met for lunch which was again a real treat. To gather feedback of the past days program, Mr Braun asked the students for their input and suggestions which lead to a really good discussion. Overall there was a great mood and after the serious work we could not resist to end the night with an ice cold Tsingtao – 乾杯!