Liang Jiang River
We went to the famous Liang Jiang River – which is so clear you can see the bottom several metres down; this is because if flows out of limestone (a bit like chalk streams in England). The area is famous for the jagged karst peaks, and even though it was overcast and a bit hazy – they were truly spectacular! Our boatman put us down some 8 km too early (nice to know even natives can be cheated!), so we walked through tiny villages surrounded by neat tiny fields full of fruit trees and a huge number of vegetable crops. A kind of radish was being grown to refresh the soil; all the fields had tidy straight edges and were being intensively cultivated by hand. No aubergines – the farmer we asked told us it had been to cold this year for them and the crop had failed.
Village on the road
After walking and taking a variety of buses, we ended up in the town of Yang Shuao, where we climbed to the top of one of the karst peaks called Bifeng. Every tiny piece of usable land is used to build on, farm on or otherwise be on – but the peaks themselves are too steep for farming, so are left alone. This was not always so though, during the Sino-Japanese war in the early 20th century villagers hid in caves in the mountains to escape the fighting, says Tiangang.
View from the top
Tomorrow we head for the Vietnamese border, warmer climes and certainly more aubergines. Internet access may be a bit patchy – but I will try!
GPS coordinates for places:
Guangxi Botanical Institute - 25 degrees 04.705 min N, 110 degrees 18.057 min E
Villages with fields – 24 degrees 55.698 minutes N, 110 degrees 29.005 minutes E
Bifeng – 24 degrees 46.649 minutes N, 110 degrees 29.537 minutes E