09.08.2011 37 °C
How nice to leave the city! How sad to leave a wonderful travel partner. I made the venture to Yangshuo by myself, but met another solo traveller looking somewhat discombobulated, and took the bus down together. I had a few hours overlap in Yangshuo, so I had some company, and got a good tour of the town and sent them on their way on the night bus.
Yangshuo is another 'small town' of 310 000. It is quite touristy. Lots of Chinese tourists and lots of international ones. The pull isn't the town it's self, but the surrounding area. I suggest you google Yangshuo now. Mmmmm hmmmm. Nice eh? Stunning in my mind. It was just a little hot there - 37 degrees to be exact.
Like everytime I get to a new city, I spent the first day wandering and getting my bearings. The second day, I got on a bike and just went. There is something incredibly liberating and exhilarating about getting on a bike and just going. I sort of knew where I wanted to go - two bridges about 2 hours out of town - but really just wanted to ride. After about an hour I met a couple from San Fran, and we rode together to the farmer's market. What an overwhelming place! Definitely nothing like the Vancouver farmer's market. There are plenty of delicious vegetables, but also baskets of dried who-knows-whats and animals of all sorts - freshly killed dog meat, checkens crammed in cages, frogs in bags (we even saw a frog tied on a leash), all sorts of squirmy things from the river, and fish freshly slit open, hearts taken out but still eating. I ate vegetarian that night. After, we made our way to the bridges where we swam and just hung out for a bit and had lunch. We the started to make our way back, and decided tofollow the river. This sent us along a path that became more and more narrow, until it was about the width of one and a half bike tires. There were multiple falls off bikes, tons of blood and bruises but lots of laughter. Finally, after lots of laughter from the lovely old locals working in their fields, we found our way back to the road. I am sure we ruined some plants as we squeezed by, but hopefully made up for it with entertainment for the farmers. After that we were headed in slightly different directions so we said our goodbyes and I made my way to somewhere where I could catch a bamboo raft part way back to town. It was a beautiful ride down, and actually quite a nice ride back, although my behind was particularly sore at that point. By the end of it all, my bike adventure lasted 8 hrs, and resulted in plenty of bruises and scrapes.
The next two days were actually quite low-key because I had a head cold and was actually getting worried I had a sinus infection the pressure was so bad. I spent time in bed, and wandering town, and reading by the river. The river was actually quite warm - almost like bath water - because it had been so hot! I also went For foot reflexology and absolutely amazed at how bang on she was with problems. The first she mentioned was stomach problems, and I was thinking she probably just says that to every traveller, but when she picked out insomnia I was amazed!
On my last day, I took a great cooking class, in a stunning location and learned a lot. I can't wait to make all the food when I go home! There was another girl travelling solo (who had also fallen off her bike) so we hung out together for the day. We went back to the same doctor for therapeutic massages. They were so so painful, but so so good (and cheap!). At one point, he was massaging my cheeks, and it was like something in my sinuses clicked, and there was a huge pressure release. So good! The rest of the day was spent wandering and eating and meeting otter travelers (I practiced a lot of French and Spanish), until I got on an overnight bus to shenzen, which is right by the border with hong kong. That but was one time I was happy I was short! I fit perfectly on the bed. There were lots of tall European men on the bus and the poor things' legs were falling out everywhere! From shenzen, I made it across the Chinese border (bye china!) and into hong kong (hey hk!). No eventful wandering searching for my hostel! I'm looking forward to seeing hong kong!!
Right now, I'm still not sure when I'm comin home. My flight is booked for the 20th but I want earlier. Apparently everything is booked (except for the 10th, but that was too early for me to leave!), so I'm calling every morning to see if there is a cancellation. I figure even if I'm Herr until the 20th, I could always just pull up the gr 4 IRPs on my phone and sit in a Starbucks to read them. It would be just like Vancouver!!