Stairway to heaven? Or Longji’s Rice Terraces?

Gold, brown and green collage of steps mold the mountain wall, forming terraces covered in shallow muddy water. Chinese farmers scarcely stood across the terraces, feet in the water, round pointy hats on their heads, concentrating on the task of planting rice. So picturesque! The scenery I had only seen in paintings was now a feast to my brown eyes.

We were in Longji’s Rice Fields, 2½ hour drive from Guilin. Longji refers to several ancient villages spread across Longsheng County. We visited two of them: the Ping’an and the Jinkeng Dazai villages.

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Hiking up the mountain was (not) easy. The air was hot and humid. My damp dress was glued to my skin and my lungs hurt for fresh air.

From the top of the mountain I could admire the whole picture: the engineered golden curves that contoured the tiered terrace bands created a raw pattern, like the spreading of vibrations when several stones fall in the water.

The dusky sunlight, filtered by the clouds, was reflecting in the paddy terraces creating a glowing mirror-like-steps.

This day, while hiking up and down the mountain, my eyes were as puzzled as the weather: Longji’s rice terrace was like a stairway, like a stairway to heaven.

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Andreia Leite

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