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Entering the second day of the stay, my stereotypical view towards the country and their citizens had already been overturned completely. One of the earliest and most notable observation was the motorcyclist or the scooter biker. All of them were riding on dedicated lanes, without helmet. Yes you see it right, without a helmet.
How is this even legal? I mumbled to my friend sitting right beside me in the bus. After clarifying with one of the local guides, I found out that it is totally legal for them to ride their vehicle in such a way, as long as the speed limit is not exceeded. On top of that, most of their vehicles were electrically powered, which means a much cleaner environment.
It has been more than 1 month by the time this post is written, yet I still cannot imaging the number of casualties there will be if this was actually implemented. Kudos to the citizens of Nanning for such safe and clean driving.
Besides, much to my surprise and awe, there were little to none litters seen anywhere in this city. Streets, alley, walkways, disregarding the location, were cleaned and I saw almost no signs of irresponsible littering or vandalism or anything else like that.
As per one of the locals, I was told that neither littlering nor vandalism was common in the city, due to the education from the local authority as well as the effective cleaning system at the public domain. You cannot find that kind of civic consciousness everywhere in the world, certainly not from where I came from.
The moment I got onto the bus and first looked at the day’s agenda, I knew it would going to be a productive day. The entire day was basically schedule for touring at places which were unique in this region.
The first location was a farming village at countryside around 1 hour away from our accommodation. Serene is the word I would use to describe this place. The houses were made out of bricks with shades of grey were built in an organized and uniform manner more than a century ago.
This invoked my inner minimalist and perfectionist as I could not stop photographing the magnificence of these antique architectures despite the scorching afternoon weather.
After another substantial round of lunch, we head to our next destination which is the the jasmine tea production factory and plantation. Instead of the pretty stewardesses that welcomed us, I was too distracted by the majestic entrance of the factory.
A round of mandatory briefing of corporate history and manufacturing steps of the product was carried out before we proceeded to the session I had been waiting for: jasmine tea tasting. I believe not just me but the rest were delighted to have the privileges to have the tea tasting experience in the biggest jasmine tea corporation in the region. I would not say the tea was out of this world, but I did enjoy the sample somehow probably due to its authenticity and freshness that cannot be found elsewhere.
The idea of heaven and hell was the first thing that came into my mind as we spent almost 2 hours at the jasmine plantation. The heaven part indicates the splendid view and the jasmine fragrance all over the plantation. Dots of white jasmine amidst the green field of plantation, together with the clear blue sky, it made a perfect backdrop for any kind of photography. Not just that, we were allowed to try to harvest the blossomed jasmine. Despite the instructions from the planter, the jasmine bud that we harvested were not in the best condition.
Well, this was our first attempt after all. Nevertheless, much to my delight I did manage to capture quite a number of candid shots which immortalized the essence of the moment.
As for the hell part, much to my dismay, the above was done under the scorching summer wave. There was no where I could hold an umbrella as both of my hands were occupied with the camera and I left my sunscreen back in Malaysia.
Sweaty and sticky, any work of creativity is almost near impossible to be carried out under such condition. In spite of that, for the sake of memories and to enjoy the moment at its fullest, I did my very best to invest my attention on the heaven part instead of the other side.
After another hour of travelling and napping in the bus, I had no choice but to drag myself down to our final destination. It did not take long for me to be fully awaken as it smelled and felt like a milk sauna in this silk production factory that we stepped foot in.
If you had ever heard of the silk road you would probably knew the value of silk and must had wondered how was it made and what made it such a precious commodity. As per the person in charge, the value of silk was mostly due to its delicacy in texture compared to other materials like cotton or wool.
Not just that, hours of automation and human effort will be spent in the tedious procedures and steps were required just to make a piece of silk product. Much to my delight, in the limited time of the visit, we got to witness some of the key steps in the production such as the extraction of the silk fibers from the cocoon submerged in hot water, manual weaving of the fibers into individual sheets and et-cetera.
If I was to describe the day with just one sentence I would say fruitful day it was but certainly it was the most exhausting one. To be very frank, I am not the kind of person that could enjoy any sort of visit or sight-seeing under such a hectic travelling schedule. Everything went by so quick and before you realized everyone was ushered to the next location. Nevertheless, the laughters of the company and the eye-openers outweighed the cons of the travel plan.
Footsteps were left, memories were made and it was all worth it.
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