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Monday 13.08.2012

After a long and scary ride in a taxi, for about 4 hours, praying to survive this trip, we arrived at a parking lot in front of the entrance to a mountain village called Ping'An. Here we had to walk for 30 minutes up the mountain to arrive at our last hotel. In front of the gate local people offered to carry our luggage to the hotel. And of course we decided to support the local economy ….. After our climb to the hotel, we were very happy that we had accepted their help (very hot) and they were happy to earn some money: a real win win situation. The room was quite small, the shower was just above the toilet, so finally a place where you can combine a visit to the toilet with a shower.

As soon as we installed ourselves in our room it started raining and we decided to wait a while before walking around the small village. By doing so we also had the chance to see some of the closing ceremony of the Olympics. After an hour it stopped raining and we walked around Ping'An for a bit. A typical Chinese tourist village with a lot of shops, restaurants and hotels, but we didn't come here for the village but for the beautiful rice fields on the surrounding mountains. After a while we found a small nice restaurant to hang out. It had both Chinese and Western food and WiFi! .. our main reason to have dinner here. The owner of the restaurant, Danny, is an enthousiastic guy and kept saying “Enjoy and Relax”. That we did, but after a while the restaurant was filled with noisy Germans, so the relax part had gone out of the window .... Still we had a good dinner with a nice bottle of Chili white wine. After dinner we went to our hotel to sleep on our very concrete beds (we are almost getting used to that).

Tuesday 14.08.2012

We had breakfast together, but Hilke was not feeling well and decided to stay in the room while Paul would go out and walk around and take the pictures that you readers are waiting for ... (we hope).

Around Ping'An there are two main scenery spots about 150 meter higher than our hotel. To get there you only need to follow the street with the most shops on either side and go up. On my way up I stopped on a small terrace from where I had a nice view on the rice terrace fields. Here a young woman dressed in a beautiful outfit asked me if I would like to take a few pictures of her, not without payment of course. Well, she was looking nice in her dress and I agreed. The price was just a bit more than 1 euro and, after all, she was a professional model, so: a bargain, right? After the photo shoot I walked further uphill. At the top I met a few older women from a minority that has a very special feature: the women have very long black hair. These ladies also invited me to take pictures of them, also for money, but I think it was well worth it. Once I passed viewing point number 2, named “The seven stars with the moon”, I had a nice long walk through nature to viewing point number 1, named “Nine dragons and five tigers”. Here I had a pot of tea and a rest and I met two young Russian men and had a chat with them. They learned English by themselves and were pretty good at it. One of the men worked as a teacher, teaching business people how to work with special, popular business software and the other man worked at a company where they produce PVC windows. Since I sold PVC windows in the past and know my way around ICT we had plenty to talk about. But also about photography, it seemed we like to take similar pictures and soon we started to admire each others pictures, a funny situation. I think we sat there and talked for more than an hour. Then they went their way and I went mine, slowly back to Ping'An. It was a wonderful day walking in the quiet nature for a change.

Once back, Hilke was feeling a bit better, good enough to visit our favorite hangout. We had a drink and dinner and got to bed in time. Tomorrow our last domestic flight ... hope it isn't delayed this time.

Enjoy our photos