Thursday, November 12, 2009

A day of farming and cultural tour

The third day of my Quilin trip proved to be worthwhile too as I had a chance to see one of the wonders of China - the terraced fields for agriculture. It is called Longji (the ridge of a dragon) as it resembles the ridge of a dragon. We went to the famous qi xing pang yue (seven stars graced by a moon) terraced fields to have a good look. From the photos I took and placed here, you can see a circular white patch (water source) surrounded by seven terraced fields around it. This is how it was named qi xing pang yue.

The ascent to the fields was quite steep. I was panting for breath and felt out of breath at some parts of the journey. Because of this difficulty in reaching the top, there are sedan-chair bearers who charge 100RMB (about RM50) for bearing a tourist to the top of the hill where you can have a panoramic view of the terraced fields including the famed qi xing pang yue.

The agricultural activities are carried out by one of the minority tribes in China - the Zhuang tribe. They make use of the slopes to engage in farming activities for a living. The way to do it is through terraced fields.

After a tiring trip up to see the terraced fields, we went to the village of the Yao tribe who boasts of the longest hair in the world. I managed to capture one photo with a woman holding her 2-metre-long hair. According to my tourist guide, the Yao women will keep three sets of hair with them throughout their lives. The first set is kept when she is shaved as a baby. As soon as she reaches puberty, her hair will be cut and kept too. The third set of hair is her own hair. The peculiar thing is they will put the first two sets of hair in between their own hair and do them up as shown in the photos below. Unmarried women will have their hair covered with a piece of cloth.

When we arrived at the stage where cultural dances would be performed we were offered a bowl of oil tea each as a sign of welcome. Beside the bowl were chopsticks. If you are married, take only one piece of chopstick and if you are eligible, then take two. The oil tea is made of fried glutinous rice and mixed with oil. The fried rice balls were still crispy when I ate them.

Then came the cultural show performed by the Yao girls and men. They depicted their daily activities through this dances. The next performance was showing how the three sets of hair were coiled and done up. Next came the wedding ceremony of the Yao and five men among the tourists were invited to act as bridegrooms. Each of these men was later given a purse hand-woven by his 'bride' before leaving the stage.

As with every trip you join, the tourist guide will take you a place where you will be shown something connected with what the Chinese are going to sell you. This time, we were taken to a shop selling comforters, blankets and pillows made of silk. Before the sale session, we were shown where this silk came from. The photo of cocoons below showed that the silk ball has been taken out. This silk ball can be stretched and it won't snap. Four tourists were given the chance to stretch this silk ball to form one layer of a comforter. As expected we were ushered to the place where comforters, blankets and pillows were sold. A few of my group bought the comforters.

It was a day of knowledge gained and experience widened.

View of Terraced fields 1

View of Terraced fields 2

View of terraced fields 3

Standing in front of the fame 'qi xin pang yue' terraced fields

Path leading to the top of the hill

Typical houses of the Zhuang tribe

A typical sedan chair used to carry tourists to the top of the hill

A tourist seated in a sedan chair being borne by Zhuang men.

Two Zhuang women selling souvenirs and food

Stalls selling souvenirs and local products

Crossing a river using a suspension can be quite shaky

Oil tea offered to guests by the Yao tribe

Cultural dance by Yao girls showing daily activities 1

Cultural dance by Yao girls showing daily activities 2

Cultural dance by Yao girls showing daily activities 3

Cultural dance by Yao girls showing daily activities 4

Cultural dance by Yao girls showing daily activities 5

Doing-up- long-hair Dance 1

Doing-up- long-hair Dance 2

Doing-up- long-hair Dance 3

Doing-up- long-hair Dance 4

The hair she has is 2 metres in length.

You can see three types of hairdo of the Yao tribe in the pix.

Yao brides at a wedding ceremony

Yao brides with their 'bridegrooms'

Cocoons after silk ball has been taken out

Pulling at a silk ball to form a layer of the comforter

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