Yangshuo was a place I’d been looking forward to. A small village with outstandingly beautiful countryside in easy reach, lots of activities to do – the best place to wait for my Vietnam visa to come through!
Well, I got there. The weather then decided to reenact the deluge for five days straight.
In the last three days however the sun came out and I was finally able to get out into that wonderful countryside by foot and by bicycle. And you know? It was worth it.
On foot I stepped off the road and wandered about the thin strips of high grass between the rice paddies themselves. Sometimes I had to back track as a path that started off high and clear petered away to nothing.
It was early in the rice cycle in Yangshuo. Although some fields were begginig to thicken with lush green others were still, flooded pools of water, and others were populated only by a scattering of young, recently transplanted seedlings.
When, watching my footing, I peered down into the the paddies the water ws clear and the mud looked fine grained and smooth, marked only by occasional footprints. Small fish – or maybe tadpoles – darted frantically away from me, stirring up clouds of silt in the water.
I saw people at work in the fields, bare feet sunk deep in the mud, backs bent, replanting each seedlings by hand. One group waved at me and called hello. A buffalo peered at me curiously as I passed the heap of motorbikes they’d ridden to work.
The landsca and the rice paddise are astoundingly beautiful but that beauty is only a byproduct. The fields are the result of backbreaking labour by generations, the lifeline of their current tenants. This woman was snatching a lunch break in the shade when she agreed to let me take here picture.