Saturday, 4 June 2011

Dehang Day 1 (12th of September)

The people of Dehang may go to bed early, but they certainly get up early too. All manner of noises drifted up to us, people washing their clothes, some banging, lots of voices, cooking and by the time we looked out the window the lady opposite had already laid all her mats of rice on the roof. The tour groups were set loose in Dehang at 9.00a.m. and had to pose for a photo on the steps of the bridge outside our window. One man, with his crisp and clean white trousers was so worried that sitting on the steps would make them dirty that he had to hover in a squat at the back while everyone else sat down.

Walking up the river our inn was on led us along the main tourist trail, but we’d left early enough to avoid most of the Chinese tourists for a while. The local folk were already hard at work cutting the rice down, putting it through their wooden threshing machines, carrying sackfuls back to the village and making little haystacks with the remains. At the end was a large waterfall where some tourists were splashing about in boats on the lake and local entrepreneurs tried to entice us to take photos with them in costume or purchase cucumbers on sticks. Pulling our raincoats on we took the short but very slippery walk behind the waterfall before heading back towards Dehang.

We stopped off at 'Shi peng's' waterfall path (15RMB), which he created and carved beside a series of steep waterfalls. There were a lot of fig trees beside the path. A Chinese woman, who thoroughly enjoyed getting her husband to take our photo, was clambering through the rough terrain in her high heels. At the top the path became a flimsy looking ladder and some slippery steps carved into the slime covered rock. Rather predictably 'Ape afraid to climb cliff' stayed at the bottom while the wood family monkey climbed up the steep ladder and made its way up the slippery steps carved into the side of the waterfall and into a cave.

Back at the bottom we ate watermelon purchased in a barn and went back for more. The high-heeled lady had plucked up the courage to take pictures herself and took numerous shots of us and our watermelon. The rest of the day was spent in admiration of the rice harvesting process and marvelling at the scenery.

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