25 Aug 2017
A drive into the mountains.
This photo was taken in the mountains high above Giulin in S China. The attraction of the area is the spectacular rice terraces which cover the mountains-see photo below.
The drive up into the mountains was not for the faint hearted-we did it in a small mini van. One of those Suzuki devices with the crash resistance of a wet paper bag. Fortunately our driver was cautious but most on the road that day were not. I have never seen such dangerous driving and so many accidents in one day (or even in one year). The road is narrow,winding and steep.Trucks and buses freely overtake on blind bends without hesitation. Head on collisions are avoided every few minutes by sheer luck but not always as we saw where a minivan was hanging on the edge of a cliff. Close your eyes.
It was a long,slow and harrowing drive. When we reached the top of the mountain it was pouring rain. There were no western tourists,except us,but it was big attraction for many locals arriving by the busload. We walked down muddy tracks to a small village nestled in the terraces where we had a surprisingly good lunch in a restaurant in an old house. It was one of those strange lunches-the opposite of a group tour lunch-where two of you sit in a completely empty restaurant with a guide who has very limited conversational skills and every so often an old lady appears with another plate of food from a back room. She puts in down and retreats silently. At the end of the meal the guide summons us to leave apparently without paying the old lady.
The rain had intensified when we walked back from lunch to the bus park and water was overflowing from the terraces onto the already very muddy path.The glorious rice terraces were lost in low cloud but then almost miraculously the sun broke through for just a few minutes before the rain sets in again. It was definitely not good weather for photography. I had just my X1. No decisions to be made. No zoom lens-just my personal two foot zoom -my feet. I photographed this hill tribe lady selling her tourist knick knacks and having her noodle lunch apparenly oblivious to the rain. With the benefit of hindsight I should have bent down and shot it from a lower angle but perhaps the pouring rain made me act quickly. Anyway it is a colourful shot with a story attached.