Thursday's Child: Ping An, China

Thursday, October 14, 2010


One of the most remote places our family has visited was Ping An, China.  The village is a steep climb from the parking lot below – one of my daughters counted stairs but gave up at 200.  And rather than tourists trying to take their luggage up the incline, the local village women make a business of carrying it on their behalf.  This was one time when we packed our carry-ons with only the bare essentials!

Ping An Guest House offered very basic accommodations.  I never did get hot water for my shower.  But it’s worth it for the glorious views of terraced farmland.  At least, in theory.

This is what Ping An looks like in the sun:

Dragon Spine Rice Terraces, Ping An
Willow Gerleman @ Asia Transpacific Journeys
This is what Ping An looked like when we visited:




But that’s where our good luck started.

Our guide, seeing my disappointment at the weather, suggested we visit a local villager’s home.  Soon he found a young woman who was sweeping outside her father’s house, and she allowed us to go inside.  The modest home was on the second floor, with the barn and chicken coop occupying the first.

The highlight of our visit, though, was the large living room.  (Vegetarians, avert your eyes.)  A fire pit burned in the centre of the room, over which hung four pigs’ legs, curing in the smoke.  And a few paces away sat a VCR and TV, dominating the short side wall.  The room was a microcosm of China just a few months before hosting the Olympics.  The ancient and the modern were often side by side in the most unexpected ways.

Our visit was one of the most memorable moments in a trip that included the Terra Cotta Warriors and The Great Wall of China. And I was reminded that in travelling - just like in life - the most amazing experience is sometimes the one thing I never could have predicted.

Villagers in Ping An


15 comments:

Foodessa said...

Beth...what a nice piece of natural paradise this seems to be. Love to read about your simplicity and adventurous travel side ;o)

Thanks for sharing a very nice part of your experiences.

Ciao for now,
Claudia

Valerie said...

I remember seeing the dragon spine rice terraces on Sunrise Earth. They looked so beautiful and simple...it made me realize how much of the world I still have yet to see. Thankfully I get to read bits and pieces of your adventures! Thanks for sharing, Beth.

Jess said...

I love your comment about the ancient and modern being so close...it reminds me of a friend who volunteered at a remote village in Central America--one of the children somehow had an old Van Halen t-shirt. The photo just screamed juxtaposition. Thanks so much for sharing your stories!

katerina said...

How much one enlarges his horizons by visiting other countries. You must have collected so many experiences from all these trips.

The Blonde Duck said...

That's so cool! It looks like an amazing trip!

Sue said...

That darn fog, but what a great trip! My husband's dream is to make it to Nepal. :)

Faith said...

Those pictures are gorgeous! My hubby wants to go to Thailand to see the tiger's temple! It seems like a fun trip Beth!

LDH said...

What an interesting trip! I was surprised that there was a VCR and TV in the home! Amazing view on a sunny day!

Barbara said...

You've been so many fascinating places, Beth! I love reading about your experiences.
How lovely that you were invited into their home...she is very pretty. Interesting observation that ancient and modern live side by side.

Kristen said...

You have had some wonderful adventures. How gracious of them to invite you into their home. I really enjoy hearing of your trips and seeing the beautiful photos.

Pam said...

Wow - the view in the sun is amazing. I think it's cool that you went to a villager's home.

Shandy said...

Stunning hillside planting! What an educational and warm vacation place to visit. The people look caring and gracious.

Joanne said...

Reading about your travels always makes me feel so much more knowledgeable about the world. It's always so interesting to see how other people live. Gorgeous photos.

Jeanne said...

I love the misty photos. I think it looks incredibly beautiful with all the fog. It's always interesting how deeply the Olympic spirit penetrates the host country, even in the smallest of villages. It sounds like you had a wonderful visit, thanks for sharing!

Erin @ EKat's Kitchen said...

This looks like a spectacular place! My mother and I are headed to China, Tibet & Cambodia next summer and your pictures have made me even more excited for the trip -- if that's even possible.

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