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If you are not bored with the pictures on the previous post for our Li River Cruise, feel free to continue looking some more…
Hubby was posing with the 20 Yuan, where the picture printed on the back of the currency was based on the view of these particular hills on the Li River.
More scenery pictures…
Here, Hubby saw these people washing the dishes from lunch using the river water. We were lucky that we did not get sick from the food. Most of the Columbian tourists brought sandwiches or fruits with them. We weren’t aware of how bad the food was on these boats, so we did not prepare anything. Otherwise, we would have packed sandwiches or snacks as well. So if you are going to take one of these river cruises, be prepared.
As you can see from the pictures below, starting at this point and Yangshuo, the scenery was not as pretty as the previous parts of the river. There were a few clouds hovering on top of us, and we got a few drops of rain here and there.
The mama water buffalo was herding its baby to walk through the water toward the other side of patches of land.
These are cormorant birds. As we landed in Yangshuo, we saw several fishermen having two birds with them, and they charged 5 Yuan to take the bird’s picture. You can also pose with the birds if you want to.
Then we started seeing flocks of ducks everywhere. I guess we must be near the fishing village here.
Finally, we approached Yangshuo area.
Right before we started heading toward the wharf, we saw this horse on a patch of land near the bank of the river. He was walking around by himself and oblivious to the amount of traffic on the river.
I also saw this man, and was wondering what he was doing. So I pointed my camera to him and start snapping pictures. Can you guess what he was doing?
So that my friends, the end of our journey at the Li River. Have I bored you to death yet?
[Disclaimer: this is a very long, long, boring story, with lots and lots of pictures. I decided to split the story into two parts, so I won’t have disgruntled and sleepy readers… ]
Our first real touristy activity in Guilin was the day after we arrived in Guilin. We arrived in Guilin on Wednesday night and we headed straight from the airport to the hotel. We did not do much that night other than resting, since we barely made it to Guilin. You see, a few days before we were supposed to leave Indonesia, I injured my back. And you would ask me, “what did you do? ” Well, I only bent to pick up a bag, and there it was, I felt a tug in my left lower back. As the days progressed, my back was getting worse. Massage helped and gave immediate relief, however, the stiffness and spasms came back the next morning. So, when we were in Hong Kong, we looked for an acupuncturist. Luckily, we were able to see a traditional doctor. I got two dosages of acupuncture treatment, as well as a steroid shot to help loosen up those bothersome muscles. I was almost as good as new. So yes, I lived up to my name, Granny Anny.
Hobbling around the airport with a sore and stiff back was no fun, but it did give us a ticket to the fast lane with the Hong Kong immigration. The officer saw me hobbling around and pointed us to the special lane with barely one or two people in it. Oh, a tip for you: whenever you have to go through immigration at any airport, pick the lane closest to the citizen’s lane. Because when there is no one at the citizen’s lane, the immigration officer will call the people in the lane next to the citizen’s lane. So you might get lucky and not have to wait very long.
Back to Guilin. Our guide, Crystal, picked us up the next morning to go toward Longsheng, and then to Ping’An village to see the famous Longji terraced rice fields. Our tour was designed for just the two of us, so we don’t have to wait for other people. So we got this brown/reddish sedan with us, and off we went toward the mountains. It was a misty and foggy day, and somewhere along the road, rain drops fell on earth. We dreaded that it would rain all day, but what could we do? If Mother Nature wanted to give the earth water, who were we to tell her no?
While we sat in the back of the sedan, we acted like real tourists. We looked at the surroundings, and what we saw was very pleasing to the eyes. I attempted to take some pictures, but my back was not co-operating. So, there were only a few pictures taken during this road trip.
The area was agricultural; orange trees could be seen often, rice fields, other harvest plants, flocks of ducks could be seen everywhere. The land was very fertile from what we could see.
Then we came up with this view, and I told Hubby that it was very pretty. Part of this region somewhat reminded me of Bavaria, with the hilly mountain would set as background toward a house and the field.
I Googled the distance of Guilin and Longsheng area, and it was about 90 km or less than 60 miles. It took us about two hours to go to where we were supposed to be up in the mountains. A lot of the winding roads up the mountain reminded me of Indonesia, except the roads in Guangxi were much nicer and wider. The traffic was very minimal as well, which was really nice. To get a clear picture of the map, thanks to this tour website, I was able to pinpoint almost exactly where we were in the map.
By the time we reached the gate from where we had to walk on our two feet, rain came down on us. But, no worries, as usual with tourist places, there were lots of vendors selling souvenirs, umbrellas, ponchos, and what not. So we stopped and bought one umbrella for me, since we borrowed the one from our room, and also a couple of ponchos. Crystal tried to haggle for us, but Hubby was not one into haggling. So we paid whatever the vendor said it was. We put on the ponchos, and armed with the umbrellas, we were ready to climb.
Due to the rain, the camera stayed hidden in the backpack, under the poncho. So, we trudged upward slowly. The pathway upward was marked with chiseled stone steps wide enough for three people standing abreast. Our eyes had to stare down looking at those stones, to see where we should place our feet, in case we stepped at the wrong place and fell off the mountain, and that would not be a happy ending story.
Due to rain, we had to watch the slippery mud as well. With the rain coming down, the dirt around the step stones was splashed around, and unless you are a mountain goat, you would have to watch your steps. Unlike the steps to Heidelberg Castle, these stone steps were not numbered. But it was definitely more than the 315 steps. I think someone out there mentioned perhaps there was about more than 1000 steps? I didn’t count them. It was definitely a hike. You had to be in a very good shape to climb up these steps easily. Or, you could hire a palanquin carried by two people, and break no sweat at all.
As with tourist places, there were a bunch of other tourists climbing up and down the mountain. There was no rhyme or reason, at one time we had to walk on the right side of the steps, and at other time we had to walk on the left side of the steps. I don’t think anyone knew what the unspoken rule along the mountain was. We knew to watch our steps, as well as other people’s umbrellas. We did not want to get poked in the head and lose an eyeball. After what we thought was a never-ending step, we finally reached the first viewing point. Crystal told us that she was taking us to the top one viewing point, where there was a house with three Chinese flags. So we rested a bit here, and we still dared not to take out the camera at this point. The rain still drizzled down and we didn’t want to ruin our camera. [The pictures above were taken on the way down to the mountain, when rain had finally stopped.] Then, on we went up again.
As we trudged our way toward the top of the mountain (or somewhere up there, I don’t think we were at the summit), we saw a lot of vendors along the pathway. We also saw several areas where you could take pictures for a fee with the minority girls. These girls dressed from the top to the bottom, with the colorful clothing and the ornaments sown to the dress. One of them wore a bright blue dress, mixed with yellow, red, purple stripes and silver ornament and the other girl wore a red dress, with yellow, blue, black stripes. The headdress also was decorated with dangling ornaments. Glitters can be seen everywhere. Since I was a cheap tourist, I used my iPhone to take a picture of these girls. Most of the pictures were filled with my other hand holding the umbrella, so I had to crop and got rid of those funky pink shapes at the right corner of the picture.
Finally, we reached where we were supposed to be. Luckily, the rain stopped at this time, and we dug out the camera, and we climbed back down the mountain. Huh? Ha… I was just checking to see if you’re asleep or not…. Ha ha…
So, needless to say, it was well worth it to climb up the mountain for a good 45 minutes to an hour to see the rice fields. If you climb this mountain every day, your doctor will be very happy with your heart. You are probably thinking, what is so special about rice fields? You could see rice fields back in Indonesia. Well, I will let you know the answer in the next post. Ciao!
One of our most favorite restaurants up in the mountains in West Java is Puncak Pass. The restaurant is actually part of a resort. I never ventured and checked out the resort itself, since we just zeroed in to the restaurant. It is located in Cianjur, about two hours from Jakarta. That is, without the horrendous traffic that can build up in the blink of an eye. Whenever we visited my sister in Jakarta, and if we had the time, we would go there and have their delicious, creamy poffertjes. It had become the beacon in our thoughts, when we heard the word “Puncak.” Puncak means top, peak, summit. But to me, Puncak means Poffertjes. I cannot help that my tummy dictates what goes on in my brain.
After searching online, Puncak Pass is located in Mountain Gede-Pangrango, in the Bogor-Cianjur-Sukabumi regencies. Puncak is also known for the tea plantation, an area where they grow tea, as well as providing a getaway place from the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolitan capital, Jakarta. Unfortunately, the pollution from the diesel fumes has reached Puncak as well. The last time we were there, we were not able to gaze very far, since the fogginess of the pollution cloud hovered on the mountain as well. One day I would like to be up there, when the rain has washed the earth, and perhaps, I would be able to see the beauty of the land without the fog hanging over yonder.
You can see how pretty the place is by looking at these pine trees. Lucious, fat, green pine trees.
The entrance toward the Puncak Pass Restaurant.
The restaurant itself has different sitting rooms. In one area, they would serve a lunch or dinner buffet.
Last year, we were eating in one corner of the upstairs area, which is actually the street level.
There is another sitting room downstairs, where one year, we saw Wiranto, the Civilian Minister of Defense. He was eating down there with his peons, while we were eating on a level just above. The staff led us to a different sitting area, since apparently the room downstairs was reserved for him.
They also have a balcony, where you can eat outdoor, enjoying the view of the mountain. Alas, on the last visit, it was raining, so we were not able to sit out there.
One year, we went there with my parents, endeavoring to see and visit the tea plantation. We stopped by here for lunch.
These are the famous poffertjes. It is a Dutch pastry, which is made on a stove top, sprinkled with powdered sugar. It is basically a round, balled, pancake, with a middle that is very warm, soft, creamy, and very delicious. I say “balled” since it really looks like a ball. Last year, the infomercial was selling the pan as a way to make a “pancake puff”.
Hubby ordered “Coto”, which is an oxtail soup. Indonesians love their oxtail soup.
My brother-in-law ordered the fried rice, topped with a sunny side up. He also got the big shrimp crackers and cucumber – carrot pickles.
My sister also ordered Coto.
I myself ordered the Nasi Timbel, a specialty of Bandung-style rice. The rice is steamed inside a banana leaf and served with fried chicken, fried tofu, fried tempe, lalapan (greens) and of course, hot sauce.
It also came with Jangan Asam, a clear, sweet and sour soup containing corn and vegetables.
And after all that food, we still had our poffertjes for dessert…
As well as fried banana sprinkled with powdered sugar…
And that my friend, concluded our visit to Puncak Pass restaurant. So I will be dreaming of poffertjes tonight, and hopefully I won’t wake up and find a wet pillow!