I’m sitting here amidst the sound of three or four sources of music all competing for my attention. I just finished a very satisfying meal consisting of barbecued oysters, what I think is pork and beef as well as some squid. I also had some noodles to go along with that. Today in the morning we went on a bike tour of Yangshuo.
In the morning after I finished as best as I could uploading yesterday’s post we gathered for the bike tour. We went to the tour operators center of operations and picked out our bikes. I got a decent one but soon discovered that the brakes in the back weren’t working that well. I fixed it before we left the place. We rode through the busy morning streets and were ferried through the city and out into the surrounding countryside. It was a nice bike ride. Our first stop was the ride down the river. A truck was going to take our bikes downstream to us.
We got onto the rickety bamboo rafts two at a time with beer in hand. We got a decent driver and slowly drifted down the river and over the mild waterfalls as our driver pushed us using his bamboo pole to steer us. There was a lot of traffic and somehow we were not moving that fast. The river ride is a way to meet women as we soon found out. The driver steered us close to a pair of Asian women and we both checked each other out taking photos of one another and telling each other that we they were pretty. It’s hard to have a conversation with a language barrier. It was cute though and they seemed a bit shy but it was kind of fun. They passed us soon enough and others drifted towards us this time they were westerners and we could see the drivers gesturing amongst themselves as to who should get together with whom. At least that is what I understood and tried to oblige with some conversation. The ladies felt a bit awkward and admitted as much. It was worth a shot though.
It was a nice ride down the river. It was a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours relaxing. When we got to the end of the line we found the rest of the group waiting for us. It turns out the other drivers went fast down the river and they have been waiting for the three of us that drifted along. We bought our driver a beer from the floating vendor. Maybe that had something to do with it. We had a good conversation floating along the river. I have to make sure to learn everyone’s name and slowly I will.
We jumped on our bikes and pedaled for a bit to the base of the Moon Hill. As it was already past one we decided to eat. The meal was included in the tour package and it was delicious. We separated ourselves into two tables and I sat with the Danes and Norwegans who’s language is very similar and I’ll probably end up learning more Scandinavian than Chinese.
The climb to the top was a stairclimber into heaven. I’m kidding it was a sweaty hike that was lead by the youngest and the oldest people in the group. Sadly I am not the youngest 😐. However I don’t really think it makes much difference. I realize that I don’t feel too much out of place with them and we have had good conversations here and there about life. Many of them are on a gap year something that I have been on for the past three as I sought experiences that were absent in my youth.
The view from the top was very nice. As the rest of the group caught up they all had heads of sweat covering them and soaking their clothes. It was a perfect time to have a group photo. It was my suggestion and all that time carrying the tripod came to good use. It’s a good group and this was the first bonding experience we have had all together and it should be commemorated.
The climb down the stairs was much easier. Once we were all together we got onto our bikes and haded to the Gold Water Cave. It is a cave filled with limestone formations created by water slowly percolating through the spaces. The lighting inside enhanced the interpretations of the formations themselves and the colors also helped create a magical atmosphere.
As I was writing this sitting at a coffee shop two giggling girls came up to me and asked if they could chat to me. They were quite nervous and we slowly developed a conversation. We talked about how long I have been here what I am doing here and what my impressions are of aching so far. You know I must say everyone has been really friendly towards me. I have had a lot of nice interactions with people and a very nice time. They tried to teach me some nice words to say to a woman and how to say hello. Soon we we were joined by some of their friends who asked similar questions about where I am from and what I thought of China. I told them that some of my friends are Chinese and that Vancouver has a large Chinese population so that I am familiar with some aspects of the culture. I told them that this is one source of what I know about China and the other is the media which can’t be trusted and they laughed in agreement. It’s as if they don’t believe what is being fed to them either. It’s kind of reassuring knowing that they feel the same way about the media. Soon we parted ways and I continued on to meet up with the rest of the group for a few drinks that we are going to have later.
The mudbath was an interesting experience to have inside the cave. The density of the water is such that you can float on top of the water suspended in a kind of weightlessness. I must say though that some parts of it felt quite gross as the mud’s consistency felt like something else as I moved it through my fingers. On close examination it was just fine granules of clay in water. Trying to shower the stuff off was a nuisance though and I couldn’t get all of it off. No matter the hot springs were just a bit further up the path and it felt great to be in the warm pool after the cold mud. We had just hiked the hill not too long ago and the combination of all of these various liquids were relaxing. The end of the cave was near and we had to cycle back to the hotel.
The cycle ride seemed to take a long time but we had floated quite a ways down the river. It is a very picturesque countryside. The farmers tend to the rice patties and there are tourists taking in the sites as well as the regular traffic of supplies running into and out of the city. Once we got close to town one of our compatriots suffered a bike failure. The nut holding his pedal fell off. He was on he side of the road looking a bit bewildered. We were a bit behind him and luckily for him I noticed that there was a bike rental place across the road. I asked Harvey to see if they had a spare part. Within no time we were back on he road towards the hotel. We stayed together to help him out. That’s a good sign of the group dynamic.
After showering I went with another of the group to drop off some laundry to get it cleaned and the. We separated as I felt like getting a meal and a coffee. The circle is complete. I should find the others so that we could at least have the one beer. I think they are on the roof.
It’s getting late and we area playing a drinking game… Then I went out with the Scandinavians to check out the clubs.