“Off Path” in Longsheng A “Guys” Hiking Trip
Louie Yi: Expedition Specialist and Lotus Travel President:
“I had been to LongSheng three times before but I did not take many photos. Since I had gotten a nice Nikon D3X camera from my wife as a birthday gift, I wanted to use it as much as possible and thought this trip excursion would be perfect time and place to make full use of it. Traveling to LongSheng has been a dream of mine. It has picturesque rice paddies and the Yao Minority girls in this area have long hair and wear traditional minority dresses -- which can make beautiful photographs.
I called my friends in Guilin, Mr. Bai and Mr. Long to accompany me. Mr. Bai is a long time friend of mine. He has many similar habits like me such as cooking, travel, and photography. Mr. Long is a young guy, who works as a tour guide in Guilin. So, it was decided the three of us would be travel companions on a hiking trip to LongSheng.
On a crisp Fall morning we met for a special rice noodle breakfast. The city of Guilin is famous for this – their rice noodles-- it is a very special dish. Mr. Bai took us to a rice noodle restaurant located in a small lane where we had these special rice noodles for breakfast. Mr. Bai is a gourmet cook and knows all kinds of restaurants in Guilin. But he always complains he is too stressed to find something new for me because I am a “connoisseur” of fine food. I think he choose a wonderful spot for Guilin breakfast noodles for our first outing.
We hired a local farmer from the village to lead us. He asked for RMB100 for taking us to our hotel at JinKeng FengJingLou (JinKeng Scenery Tower) which is near the top. And he carried my camera bag for me, without the heavy cameras of course. I stopped my Chinese friends bargaining with him and we started our journey right after the lunch. Although I carried only two cameras, Nikon D60 – my old friend, and Nikon D3X – my new friend, it was tough to take them with me all the way up for about four hours. This was a serious hike!
I am reminded with this “old fashioned” guest house stay the many changes I have I’ve seen in the US and China in the past 15 years. In this guesthouse there was no TV in our room and no bar in the guest house. Many Americans would say this guest house was very “rustic”. With inadequate light my friends read magazines and I settled down to try and read the days’ old newspaper. Since I had not brought my reading glasses, it was too difficult to read and we began chatting while on our beds. While we shared lots of funny travel stories, we could hear a guest in the next room snoring. Suddenly the snoring stopped and someone knocked on our pine-wood wall. The guest next door was awakened by our talking. We decided to stop chatting; based on our good exercise earlier, I fell to sleep immediately.
That night our youngest friend, Xiao Long suffered from both Mr. Bai and me on his right and left. While he slept in the middle bed, Xiao Long thought he should go to sleep later than us since he thought he would snore. However, he did not know that Mr. Bai and I snored much louder! Poor Xiao Long had to use the blanket to cover his ears.
By this time, poor Xiao Long was so hungry that he could have finished a whole pig on his own. We stopped at a restaurant with many tourists and ordered steamed bamboo pole rice, dry tiny fish with sour long beams, stir-fried cabbage, and chicken with bamboo shoots. Our original plan was to stay at LongJi (Dragon Back) for the evening. None of us was willing to have another “rustic” guest house experience at a new location. So, instead, we took an hour and a half hour drive to return to Guilin. We arrived safely with beautiful photos, good memories and very sore, painful legs from 10 hours of hiking. It’s a “guy thing”.
President, Lotus Travel