August in China: Amazing Views of Guizhou

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Guizhou is one of the poorest and most undeveloped provinces in China. It is a mountainous inland area populated by minority groups. Its underdevelopment is mainly due to the difficult transport lines. Good roads are only now being constructed and there are very few major highways passing through the province. What makes development difficult makes the scenery uncommonly beautiful. Throughout the winding journey, we got used to the lovely views of the many shades of green, from the pine trees to the rice paddies.

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Each turn gave us another great view. Why bother with TV and National Geographic when you can look out at this all afternoon?

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I envied the villagers their houses with the amazing views. It looked almost Swiss alpine and was all incredibly idyllic.

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Soon we spied a dark patch in the valley below. This had to be the biggest town in the area, Zhaoxing.

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After an unexpectedly long journey that was half the distance we’d last travelled yet took twice the time of our last journey, we finally arrived at the last Dong village on our itinerary.

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August in China: Rice Terraces of Longsheng

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I took a day trip to Longsheng to see the famous rice terraces. It’s a verdant mountainous area populated by the Dong and Zhuang tribes. Their ancestors carved the terraces into the steep slopes creating this stunning landscape of  crazy curving green contours looming out of the mist.

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Each terrace had been carved out pretty much by hand and every inch of space was maximised. Some terraces were so tiny that the farmer had to stand outside the terrace to tend it.

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It was incredible how the terraces were all perfectly level. These were all done without the help of modern technology. It was simply mind-boggling to behold.

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Midway through the rice season, the paddy was just about starting to flower and seed. The different shades of green blanketing the valley really was a sight for sore eyes.

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Equally awesome were the wood houses also constructed into the slopes. Some of them were propped against the mountain-side with the help of stilts and others were simply split levels leaning on the rock contours. I loved how the complementary dark wood and red lanterns contrasted against the green green grass.

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I couldn’t quite get over the oddity of seeing a cluster of houses on the top of a hill. It must have been amazingly hard work for the first family to build a house there. Imagine lugging all the supplies, then chopping down the trees for timber and then putting it all together. Wow.

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And the views were just amazing. The mountain peaks looming in the distance reminded me that we may be able to carve up the mountains, but there would be another peak out there escaping our colonisation. There’d always be a wild spot out there waiting to be discovered.

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