Sunday, June 28: After seeing all I can see of Nine Dragons and Five Tigers, I start to make my way to back to my hostel in Ping’An. I can see the village ahead of and below me, and the gorgeous rice terraces laid out neatly below me.
Every once in a while I pass Chinese tourists along the path, or I see them walking ahead of me, but luckily it isn’t too crowded.
I see a few farmers along the way, walking along the terrace edges, doing what they do best.
I pass a vendor, a Zhuang woman selling various textiles, at this isolated spot along the trail.
After passing by the most dramatic terraces, the path takes me along the edge of a mountain, where ferns and flowers are growing with exuberance.
After emerging from the wooded area, I can see Ping’An below me.
I continue walking until I reach a lookout point that is on the other side of the village, looking over Seven Stars with Moon.
As it’s almost time for me to catch the bus back to Guilin, I continue through the village and back to my hostel.
Back at the hostel, I gather my bags and make my way 20 minutes down the mountain to the entrance of Ping’An Village. I have bought a few souvenirs while here, so my backpack is rather heavy now. I get on one of the two buses that leave daily from Ping’An directly to the Guilin Railway Station; it leaves at 2:00 p.m. The only other direct bus left at 9:00 a.m., but if I had taken that one, I wouldn’t have had much time at the terraces!
On the bus, I talk during most of the trip to a young man from Stuttgart, Germany who has been studying in Beijing for his thesis on water storage and flooding control and is now taking a month to travel around China. His favorite destination was a place in southern Sichuan near Tibet.
The bus ride to Guilin seems very short. I expected it to be 3 hours and it’s only about 2 1/2 hours, meaning I arrive at the Guilin Railway Station before 4:30. This means of course that, since my train to Nanning doesn’t leave until 8:10 p.m., I have to wait in the train station for over 3 1/2 hours, an excruciatingly boring and uncomfortable way to spend a Sunday afternoon. It seems like an eternity. I could have gone out to explore someplace in Guilin if I’d had a place to store my heavy backpack filled to the brim with souvenirs!
The fast train from Guilin to Nanning only has one or two stops, depending on which train you are on. I always think it’s funny when this announcement comes on as we approach a stop: “Passengers who do not reach their destination cannot get off.” Of course, there is no one to stop people from getting off if they want to, so of course the announcement should be: “Passengers who have not reached their destination should not get off.” I laugh every time I hear this announcement on Chinese trains. 🙂 I arrive back in Nanning at 10:40 p.m. and then catch a bus back to the university, arriving home after 11 p.m. after a tiring day of travel. This is way past my bedtime, but it was well worth the trip to see the rice terraces one last time before leaving China.