Rainy day is a good day to write a blog post.

After cycling through the lovely scenery of the Yulong river I decided to stay in Yángshuò for a couple of days to continue exploring the area.  Arriving at the Yángshuò bus station, it was supposed to be an easy and cheap 1-Yuan minibus ride to my hostel located on West Street.  But after waiting for the bus for half an hour I must’ve looked impatient because a small, elderly woman approached me and asked if I wanted to go to West Street.  I said Yes.  She pointed to her scooter.  She wanted to give me a ride there for 10 Yuan ($1.50).  I was skeptical that she could handle my weight and my pack.  I pointed to my big backpack and then to her tiny scooter.  But she was confident that all of us would fit.  She took my bag, placed it on the space where her legs should be, and proceeded to tie it on her bike.

The Chinese elderly continue to amaze me.  After seeing them walk around with heavy loads on their back, climb hills and endless staircases without breaking a sweat, and now maneuvering a tiny scooter with me and my very heavy pack — I’m convinced that they are super human.

*

I left my stuff in my room and walked towards the People’s Park nearby to get my bearings.  And here I discovered that playing cards seem to be the favorite pastime of the elderly in these parts.  Every table at the park is occupied by small groups playing cards.  

The elderly playing cards in the park

*

I rented a scooter and drove off to find the ancient village of Longtan, 9 km away.  It was initially built around 1582 spanning the Ming and Qing dynasties.  The remaining structures that still stand today are protected by the county.  While it was an interesting, if short, stroll around the village, it did not look any different from the many other ancient dwellings I have already seen during my trip.

Longtan village
Longtan Ancient Village
Longtan Ancient Village
Longtan Ancient Village

*

I drove on to Moon Hill.  The name came from the huge hole in the middle that looks like the moon against the sky:

Moon Hill
Moon Hill

For 14 Yuan, one can climb the 800 or so steps all the way to the top of this hill.  Feeling guilty for sitting on a scooter these past couple of hours, I was eager to make the climb.

It was an easy way up but today the sun was scorching hot, it was humid, and the mosquitoes were relentless.  My USA-bought bug spray was confiscated back in a Beijing subway for being flammable (apparently 3 oz. aerosol cans are okay to bring on a plane across the ocean but not in a Beijing subway), and since then I haven’t found anything that contains more than 7% Deet.  I was full of bites when I reached the top.

Moon hill
Me underneath the Moon Hill

When I pulled into the entrance of Moon Hill this lady tried to sell me a small bottle of water for 5 Yuan (normal price is about 2 Yuan).  I already have some water, but I bought one anyway.  I asked her to keep an eye on my scooter because it didn’t come with a lock.  I went up the hill.  When I came down 2 hours later I found her sitting next to my bike, keeping watch.  When I had problems getting the bike to start, she went off to look for someone to help me.  Loyalty for the price of a small bottle of water.  I hope fortune smiles on her.

 

*

More scenes from by bike ride:

cycling along the Yulong river

cycling along the Yulong river

cycling along the Yulong river

*

No trip to Yángshuò is complete without a stroll through West Street (Xijie).  West Street is the “happening” place.  Touristy but, hey, it was also fun.  The place slowly comes alive as the sun sets.  Every stall, bar and restaurant begins to thump with music.  Chinese tourists appear in expected big groups.  I even noticed more foreigners here than in most places I have visited.  The whole area is lit bright — Chinese do love their neon lights.  I have seen the most english words during my travel on signs lining this street, and some vendors even speak basic english.

Pantao road
PanTao Road, a major road in Yángshuò, perpendicular to West Street. My hostel (Wada hostel) is tucked behind the buildings to the right.

*

West street
West Street gate at sunset

*

*

West street
Whatever sells. It’s interesting how they put a bubble maker for kids to play with in front of a bar window with a half-naked dancing woman.

*

West street
Interesting way to sell dresses: a dozen or so ladies line up West Street holding a few dresses each. People try on and buy the dresses on the spot.

*

Local specialties in the area. Durian, Guilin noodles, tofu, and mangoes.

*

Chinese tourists make the cutest poses in the most ridiculous places.

*

West Street at 11 pm. This is the place to be.

*

And here ends my travel through this beautiful Guangxi province.

Tonight I decided to board a train for Shanghai tomorrow.  My Lonely Planet guidebook wrote this about Shanghai: “come here when you’ve had your fill of temples, buddhist monks contemplating the dharma, imperial palaces, and bumpy 10-hour bus rides… for this is a city of action, not ideas….”  Well, I kinda like all of those things.  But perhaps it is time to see this other side of China.  Let’s find out if Shanghai is worth the 9 1/2 hour train ride.

***

 

One Reply to “Yángshuò: Part Deux”

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: