Teaching in Yanshuo part 2

Yangshuo Travel Blog

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Woke up just in time to brush our teeth and meet our new buddies (who were happy to spend all day with us in exchange for English lessons) in the foyer. They were dressed in long johns, thermal shirts, over-shirts, jumpers, coats, scarves and gloves; we had long sleeves.

Chris set off on a bicycle with Owen while I had lunch with Sherry. The cultural differences between west and east are amazingly acute when eating. Initially she was disgusted by my leaning forward to eat, because in a crowded country with big families if everyone leans back you can fit another 20 people around the table. I followed this up by laughing as quietly as I could when she tried to use a knife and fork to pick up a whole fried egg and managed to stab herself in the ear. She complimented me on my handling of my chopsticks then started munching away on some pig's knuckles. She would chew for ages then spit out the bone onto the tablecloth, I was a little surprised at that one, but it was still somehow done with overt delicacy.

Not entirely certain what she was saying or where she was taking me we were suddenly in deep conversation with a mad old woman who rented us a tandem bicycle and set off up the motor-way beckoning for us to follow. With my knees hitting my chin with every peddle and Sherry not really putting much effort in, we cycled after her for over an hour through increasingly perfect countryside until we were well past even Chinese tractor country and ox once again reigned supreme. While cycling alongside the gorgeous Dragon river and without warning we were ordered off our bike which was thrown onto a bamboo raft, charged a chunk of money then thrown on after it. For the next 3 hours we were punted down the mirror-like river past mist sown fields and dream painted mountains while the boatman whistled ethereal Chinese dirges. This place has surpassed any other as a location for a honeymoon.

Being dropped off equally unceremoniously, we jumped on the bike and set off winding through the hills towards a place called moon mountain to meet Chris and Owen. Moon mountain is called moon mountain because of a huge hole right through it near the summit that looks like a 50 meter wide half moon. So there. We climbed up all 600 meters of it with Sherry going slowly in high heels (it was her idea to climb it, not mine) and a ninety year old woman chasing us. Whenever we stopped for a rest she would come panting over to us saying "You buy coke, You thirsty". Despite saying no every time and showing her my litre of water she followed us all the way to the top where she then whipped out postcards of Beijing at "velly special plice". After sitting on the very summit for an hour just taking it all in I began to think that these hundreds of hills that seem to turn into clouds in the far distance are the most perfectly beautiful things I have seen in my entire life, and sod swimming with dolphins, coming here is what everyone needs to do before they die.

A long and painful cycle back was followed by Dim Sun and horror movies in one of the hundreds of cool little Chinese bars in the old town.

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photo by: sylviandavid