Yao LadyWe are going to the Long Ji Rice Terraces today, these are at least two and a half hours distant in the mini van. The road is, shall we say, tortuous, the standard of driving is pretty rubbish and there are no seat-belts visible in the back of this transport either. Best not to be too frightened of heights either.

After our pick up at 8:30 Julie had a go at selling us an acrobatic show for tonight. Tempting as it looked we declined, there were more people spinning on silk streamers and that was more than enough for me.

All that said the Long Ji Terraces are as good as the Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall. The villages, paths, irrigation, terraces and buildings are all very reminiscent of Nepal, even the people have striking similarities. Whatever, this is another great place to visit.
Fortunately the weather was not terrifically hot, tourists were few in number as they have been throughout our visit and the climb to the top not was too strenuous. You feel at times that you could easily have gone back 800 years and it would look identical. Obviously the path, the shops, the Austrian tourists and the ice cream at the top let you know otherwise.

Mary and JulieJulie made up for the sales pitch by getting us one of the best lunches we have had in a small cafe half way up the hill. It was far more than we could eat and quite delicious.

We also met one of the ethnic minority people (we think a Yao) who have enormously long hair. About $NZ 1 persuaded her to uncoil it for us and show us the length, she's 45. She was quite charming and we bought a book of photographs of the area from her (truly vastly better than I could do in a single visit with a pocket camera and about $NZ 6)

There are sedan chairs to take you up if it's all too far. Pictured is one rather large lady (who needed the exercise) clutching her Coca Cola bottle while two small locals heave her up the hill. She is closely followed by what we assume is her husband berating some poor sod on the mobile phone. We joked he was telling a minion to “make more money, my wife is spending it”.

Our return journey was marred (for me) by a visit to a pearl 'exhibition' (yes shop) where we have a cursory explanation and then a sales pitch. You'd hav to give them credit for being keen and the price halved (for a rather rumply looking string) as we left. Julie was pretty keen too, I wonder why?

Large lady with cokeUnless you know what you are looking at and have some idea about prices back home you could easily be done (it could equally be a bargain but what are the odds?)


Left to our own devices we turned to he Lonely Planets 'where to at and selected a Sichuanese restaurant, Yiyuan Fandian. Reaching the general location we found no fewer than three restaurants, none with Pinyan (English) characters so we did the obvious and selected the busiest.

Apart from somewhat peremptorily moving us from the table at the kitchen door to a better one the experience was a great success. The food was splendid but at least one extra plate was included, we have no idea what it was, but it was all great and we overate unashamedly.

River Li Cruse at 8:40 in the morning then.