Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yangshuo Fin..avi

Upon returning from our 11 day trip in Yunnan, China, we decided to exhaust my double entry VISA and re-enter China the following weekend. Our destination: Yangshuo in Guangxi Province (just West of Hong Kong, just East of Yunnan). In my opinion, I needed a break from the bizarre and crazy nature of China, but the opportunity wasn't going to come up again (especially with my 4 best friends here), so I caved in the end. I'm glad I did xP

We started off with a lovely sleeper bus from Shenzhen to Yangshuo, about a 9 hour drive (but we were "sleeping" so it's ok ;) Upon arrival we wandered around the somewhat small town, finding a hostel (with only a squatty potty) and then ventured to their famous caves. Basically, it was the most tourist friendly cave I've ever been in (Rock City might take the prize though). Even so, the paved paths and colored lights bent through a pretty impressive hole in the ground with rather beautiful formations of stalagmites and tites (which I still get confused. Mites for mice...ok got it). There were some water and mud caves which people apparently get drenched in either clear water or in pure mud...we decided to pass...

Instead we took a bamboo raft down the Yulong River, just chillin' like fillin' in the most beautiful/remote mountainous area. We were dead tired for some reason, so this leisure ride was perfect. They had these little man-made "waterfalls" that we went over, which was suprisingly fun but stopping every time to see the pictures that they'd take/sell was slightly annoying.

The next day after our daily breakfast of fried dumplings and various assorted dumpling soups, we set up a rock climbing excursion which lasted until around 3PM. It was boss. We had two guys come guide us to climb "Baby Frog Mountain" (I know, manly right?) but it was a blast putting harnasses on and these shoes that were like ballet shoes for men (thin rubber so you can feel the rocks with your toes). The day flew by and we could not have been happier to visit our Taiwanese friend at TopCup! It's this little drink shop that is LEGIT! The dude is straight from Taiwan and makes these "ices" that are thick yet smooth and packed with flavor (and sugar as Jon would find out and soon to love). We visited there a total of 5 times in 4 days (two of which being in the last 3 hours we were there :D).

The day just happened to be Chinese Valentines day (or the end of the Chinese New Year) and while I did not get together with an innocent little Chinese local, we did have the opportunity to experience the best night in Yangshuo. The town (and all of China) hands out these free, sweet dumplings filled with peanuts and black sesame! They were amazing and we probably ate like 25-35 of em. There were streams of people and we heard that the CCP was heading a fireworks show on the river, so we joined the mad crowds.

It might have not been the best fireworks I've seen (still impressive tho) but there were many factors that made it unforgettable. First of all the setting: we were sitting on huge steps on the bank of a river, people both infront and behind us. Mountains in the background with the full bright yellow moon lingering in the sky. Secondly: the crowd was the most responsive and animated that I've ever seen. They "ooo-ed" and ahh-ed" at everything and laughed and were fully devoted to watching the fireworks. Everybody had phones and cameras out and yelled when they saw something new. And third of all: these fireworks were so close to us that they seemed like 3 times bigger! They exploded and you could basically feel the impact from the bomb in your body, not to mention that they weren't too efficient because every third firework or so would blow up like 10 feet off the ground, pelting the ground and van with firery explosives (very humorous to watch). Overall though, this firework show will go down in my books as the most enjoyable and surreal.

Then our ride home. I don't want to think about it, but we decided to sleeper bus it (no big deal right?....wrong). The bus was ancient, and we were in the back top....every fume from that exhaust pipe just billowed into the bus while our beds were (except me) far to small to stretch out, but even if you did want to put your legs into the black abyss at the end of your bed, who knows what was inside them?! Needless to say, we knew it was going to be a rough ride, but when we got a flat and took a wrong turn, we were glad the ride only took 14 hours!!!!>!! I could have flown home in that time, AH! But here we are, alive and well so we should be thankful.

Yangshuo: awesome time. Good food and fun experiences, not to mention the best icee I've had in awhile and one of the best days I've had in awhile as well (rock climbing, icees, free dumplings, fireworks, sleep while exhausted....legit).

OH! I forgot their specialty dish they eat there: it's called "beer fish" and basically every restaurant has husslers outside saying in broken english "We have beer fish" "We have beer fish". It was ok, nothing special, just fish cooked in beer apparently, but you couldn't even taste it. We also got pizza 8D don't judge :)

Just for fun in the video (or things I left out):

The girl talking at the festival totally reminded me off little Asian voices and Annie Lee, I hope you Houston kids get a kick out of that.

The friends I went with: Jon Newman and Jason Blackmon (same as Yunnan) Vanessa Johns and Stephy Pang (local HK kid). Good travelling with ya.

Pizza, Jon got two.

Moon: yellow. crazy yellow. cheese like yellow.

Hiking: we hiked up the river to this very chill place, reminded me what Narnia would be like if you were there. Revisited my childhood and skipped some rocks.

Hand made noodles: I can't wait to go to mainland China again just for that!


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