We leave our hotel in Ping’an at 9am. We walk to the parking lot. Each tourist attraction (and Ping’an is definitely one of them…) has the same kind of “arrival”: from the parking lot, you go through an alley full of tourist shops, where you basically find the same stuff in each site. We usually only buy water…
We go and pick up our bags at the restaurant where we left them.
We have a 3h30 drive to the minorities’ villages. We indeed go today to Chengyangqiao Scenic Area, to see the Dong villages of Sanjiang.
From the road, we have a view on the new highway due to open next month. Most of the highway is composed of viaducts and bridges. Quite impressive.
We can witness a very anarchic construction “style” in the towns we pass. It doesn’t seem that any urban planning was used… Our guide is also very surprised by the speed at which these towns are changing. Ten years ago, most of the houses were still in wood while nowadays only a few of them remain. Progress is going so fast (but chaotically).
We arrive around 2pm in Chengyang village, where we drop our luggage in the hotel.
We go and eat some plain rice and raw tomatoes.
We then go and explore the village (Jules stays in the hotel; he’s tired).
We first visit the village and its drum tower. A drum tower resembles a pagoda plonked on a rectangular pavilion; many are found in Dong villages in the region. Once the social and religious heart of the villages, they’re now colonized by old men watching TV and playing Mah-jong and table tennis.
We attend a traditional show on a square in the village; it’s rather pathetic (we leave in the middle of the show…).
We walk around the village and among the rice fields (there are black water wheels made from bamboo to irrigate them), and go on the Chengyang Wind & Rain Bridge. This is the finest and most elaborated of the wind-and-rain bridges in the area. It was built in the early 1900s; 5 stones piers support pavilions linked by covered walkways, entirely built from wood (cedar) – not one nail was used in the bridge’s construction. Cool and airy in summer, and protected from downpours, these bridges make perfect place to sit around and gossip.
There are also many tea plantation; it’s a nice contrast of greens between these tea plantations (dark green) and the paddy fields alongside (light green).
Weather is humid. Kids are tired. We rest a bit at the hotel, in our rooms.
For diner, it took us quite a while to select the restaurant (there are so many small restaurants, most of them empty on this Sunday night). But it turns out to be a good choice. We have a nice diner.
Even for breakfast, kids now want (plain or sticky) rice and soy sauce… These are definitely the 2 words that I show the most from my Google Translate app.
We leave at 9am. The drive back to Guilin airport takes 4 hours.
We have more than 3 hours to wait at the airport, before our flight to Shanghai. We don’t find anything else that a (bad) burger (at ‘Each Burger’).
The 3-hour flight is a bit bumpy, with lightning in the sky. Weather is not good in Shanghai.
The Shanghai airport is impressive.
We take 2 taxis to our Airbnb (taxis don’t take more than 4 people).
Our Airbnb is very centrally located, in the French Concession, near South Shaanxi Road metro station. It is nice: 3 rooms (each with a double bed), 4 different levels (our room is on a mezzanine floor). We’re happy to stay at the same place for 2 weeks. And very happy to have 2 weeks to discover this huge city of 24 million inhabitants.
We are hungry. We go in a (very nice) supermarket in a mall across the road to buy some stuff to eat.