Friday, November 21: This morning I wake up to find my back is miraculously better. It was either the five Ibuprofen I took last night or the extreme naps I took yesterday afternoon, but waking up with no back pain means I’m game to hike to Longji Ancient Zhuang Village. Even my stomach is feeling a little better but I’m really not sure how much I trust it to behave. I do go ahead and eat some scrambled eggs and toast and drink some coffee.
I have studied the map and am told by the receptionist that the hike to Longji is about a half hour beginning from Viewpoint 2: Seven Stars with Moon. I don’t remember seeing a path marked to Longji near Viewpoint 2, but I walk through the village and up the mountain, keeping my eyes peeled for a path heading to the west. I see some cute businesses and interesting masks along the way.
On my way up the mountain, I find some better views of Seven Stars with Moon. I like how it looks in the morning fog. I do see a path about halfway up the mountain, but it doesn’t say anything about Longji, so I continue up the mountain.
I am so tempted to buy some of the textiles but I never do. I will definitely need to pick some up when I return again.
While I’m walking up the hill, there are these little viewing platforms where people can rent costumes and pose in front of Seven Stars with Moon. A Dutch lady is sitting on one of the benches taking a rest and I sit down beside her to catch my breath. When I do, I can’t help but look at some of the photos spread out on a table taken of tourists in the costumes. When I find it’s about 20 yuan ($3.25) for the costume rental and the photo, I can’t help but try it out. It’s kind of funny and the Dutch lady follows suit and gets some photos made herself. We get a lot of laughs out of this!
After my little photo-op, I continue up the mountain to where the horseshoe-shaped arrangement of shops are, and I make a restroom stop. My stomach doesn’t feel great, but nothing untoward is happening, so I figure I’m safe to continue my journey. I heard from some other tourists at the hostel that the path is about a half hour through the woods, so I figure if I can always go in the woods if necessary.
I still don’t see any path marked to Longji, so I decide to walk back down the mountain to the unmarked path I saw.
At the point where I see the path heading west, I ask some Chinese tourists: “Longji?” They nod and point down the trail. I’m going off into new territory alone, with no guide and a map about the size of a 1 yuan bill. I can hardly read the map without a magnifying glass. But the path seems to be paved with stones, not just some dirt path, so I head off. I figure I’ll go ahead as long as the trail does.
You can come along on my walk, but you’ll have to wait till the next installment. 🙂