合乐娱乐场官网 www.96otf.com.cn As one of Asia's most iconic scenic locations, rice terraces can be found on calendars, postcards and posters everywhere. However, adventurous backpackers aside, few people take the time to venture into the mountains of Southwest China's Yunnan Province to see these terraces that have been cultivated by local farmers for more than 1,000 years.
The terraces of Yuanyang county, a particularly successful collaboration between human beings and nature, are sometimes touted as the eighth wonder of the world. More than 900 small villages are scattered over the entire county. Of them, I decided to travel to Huangcaoling, a villages connected to the outside world by nothing more than a twisting mountain road.
Bumpy road, good food
I was told that there was no easy way to get to the village before I set off, but I didn't expect it to be as hard as it was. First I went to Jianshui, a history-rich city that boasts Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties architecture and the place from which buses set off into the mountains.
From there, I spent more than three hours on a crowded minibus. The road was well maintained near the city, however, as the bus got closer to the mountains it became unbearably bumpy. Even though it was October when I visited, it was still hot in Yunnan. The crowded and stuffy bus made me feel like I was going to suffocate as I sat on a DIY bench that had been added to the bus to pack on extra paying passengers. In contrast to my discomfort, the local people on the bus looked quite relaxed and seemed used to all the shaking around.
My arrival at the center of Yuanyang county was not the end of my trip, but only one-third of the whole journey. After switching buses and bumping around for another hour, I found myself in Xinjie township. Leaving anything approaching a modern road behind, from then on I felt like I was on a rollercoaster, climbing up and down seemingly endless- dirt roads. When we got over one peak, another would appear on the horizon. The driver drove at breakneck speed no matter how narrow or winding the road got. I was rocked around as I gripped the seat in front of me, and I could not keep the screams from leaking out of my mouth as we skimmed along the edge of the road and swung around sharp turns. Despite the driver's clear confidence, I worried that I would end up a martyr to my wanderlust.
By then two-thirds of the journey was done. The last step was to take a private van with other villagers, and after another half an hour, I finally arrived in Huangcaoling after night fall.
In the early morning my exhausted body was woken by the smell of burning wood, birds singing and roosters crowing. Gun shots from people hunting animals echoed through the valley.
Opening the curtain, I realized all the hustle and stress was worth it - layers upon layers of stacked rice paddies could be seen through the purple mist that floated in the air.
Paddies filled with water reflected the rosy dawn that was spreading all over the sky. They formed a huge mirror, adding sky blue to the fields.
Smoke spiraled from the roofs of small village houses which, like my hostel, were perched at the edge of the terraces. It took only a few steps from my front door to get to the paddies where rice stems, water and mud mixed together.
The Hainan-born hostel owner had built the four-floor structure himself seven years ago.
He explained that from the very first time he came to the village, he had been fascinated by the splendid rice terraces and the rustic charm of rural life.
Unlike other hotels built by locals, the atmosphere at this one was very modern, serving coffee and Western-style -breakfast. Even though there are many -places to eat in the village, I mostly had dinner in the hotel, or more precisely, at their neighbor's house.
The food was all homemade and sometimes I had to disturb their dinner to ask them to cook me some dishes if I came back late. Cured meat was one of my favorite local treats. Chewy and salty with a rich flavor, they would fry it with fresh vegetables picked directly from their garden.