Midnight mountain rescue in Yangshuo

Yangshuo Travel Blog

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Welcome to Yangshuo

Rain, rain and more rain in Guilin, flooding my hostel and washing down the dirty streets. During my busride to Yangshuo it's still pouring down, and I can't see anything other than thick white foggy clouds. However, as I arrive in Yanghsuo the weather clears a bit, and I'm hit by Yangshuo's beauty, full force. Quote me on this; Yangshuo is the most beautiful place on earth.

There you go, I've said it. Prove me wrong. I'm not joking here, Yangshuo will enchant you. It's magical, mysterious, unbelievable, crazy, extreme. If you haven't been to Yangshuo yet, start calling your travel agent, now.

The good life
You will not regret it.

So after a tout picks me from the bus and drives me over to his hotel, I make myself comfortable in my room. I'm paying the same per night as in Guilin, but instead of a four share, I now have my own double bed, ensuite'd and all, so that is sweet as. I sign up for a boattrip over the Li River, and my bus to the river leaves.. in a matter of minutes. Shite. Via a bus and on the back of a motorbike I'm the last person to be delivered to the boat, which sets off directly after I board. The scenery is nice; it's still a bit cloudy around the peaks, but at least it's not raining anymore. We anchor at a small bank in the river to be hassled by the vendors and to take some photos, and that's where I meet Niv.

Niv is a 29 year old Israelian running an import business who is travelling China mainly because of the Guangzhou Trade Convention.

Action shot
During the next couple of days I realize that Niv is by far the greatest traveller I've ever met. Not the places he's been to, but the way he gets amongst it, how he takes on challenges, how he isn't afraid to ask anything, his view on life and travelling. Serious respect for this guy, I hope to be able to travel like him one day. We talk some and agree to team up the next day to hire some motors and explore the mountains around Yangshuo.

The day after we meet and proceed to find a motor. I'm going with a scooter instead, and we head out of town, in search of freedom. It's not hard to find. After a while we find a new highway being build. Still in progress, the road is not open for traffic, but with our twowheelers it's not hard to get up the ramp. Imagine a brand new road, totally empty (except for a big roadwork truck now and then), through the most magical landscape in the world.

Ni hao!
Imagine me, on a scooter. Imagine the freedom. Can you taste it? Feel it in your gut? I still can, every time I think back to that day.

Niv and I own the new Yangshuo highway. We stop whenever we like, talk with the roadside workers, take them for a ride or give them a lift to the worksite on the back of our bikes. We get off the road, visit a village where Niv practises his Chinese with the villagers. We have lunch with the locals and earn lots of smiles. Niv also earns lots of cries, as he has the miraculous gift to make every child cry just by paying attention to it. Good times.

We return in the direction of the ramp where we got on the road, but unknowingly drive straight past it. We continue on for a long time, enchanted by the landscape. We meet a Chinese farmer busy ploughing his ricefield and we have some laughs with him.

Ploughing a ricepaddy in Yangshuo, China
He doesn't want to be photographed, but offers us the plough instead. Wicked!! I waste no time getting of my shoes and get behind the plough. I'm ploughing away for five minutes, lightly scraping the plough over the ground. Niv's busy taking pictures and videoclips, and the farmer can't stop laughing at these funky westerners doing his work, for no money. Ploughing itself is easy enough, it's the beast that you got to learn how to control. All this is an amazing travel experience, and I'm really glad to be in a team with Niv. Without his help I'd have never discovered this spot, not would I ever plough a ricepaddy. But now I'm a chinese farmer!

After my super experience we suddenly realize we're running out of time fast to get back to Yangshuo, and luckily for us we find out that Yangshuo is on the way back, instead of the direction we're going in.

Ploughing in Yangshuo, a great experience!
We head back as fast as we can, until Niv stops all of a sudden. Out of gas. Whoops. We decide that I should go on to Yangshuo, get to the gas station we passed on our way here and bring back some gasoline. Right on, except that I'm extremely low on fuel as well.

I'm driving for fifteen minutes when I see a tent alongside the road. I stop and ask for gasoline, desperately pointing to my scooter and tank. The roadworkers are not intrested though. They have no idea what I mean and can't be bothered. Luckily, the minivan passing does understand my problem and after failing to transfer some fuel of their tank to mine, they tell me to wait at the viaduct. Ten minutes later they're back with two half liter bottles of fuel. Legends! They refuse any money for the gas, and I'm off to Yangshuo.

Ape to the rescue!
Maybe it's the different fuel or the fact that I've been riding the scooter for a full day, but it won't do anything over 30km per hour. It takes me a full hour to get to the gasstation between Yangshuo and Baisha, and by this time it's seven in the evening. It's getting dark fast, and Niv is still in the mountains.

Unbelievably, the gasstation won't serve me, and sends me away. I make it to Yangshuo, fill up my tank at another station and ask them for a jerrycan to put some fuel in. No jerrycans available, but they do have a wateringcan for me. Nice. Mission: Mountain Rescue is about the go into phase two. It's almost eight when I arrive back at the ramp, and it's fully dark now. I follow the road, calling out for Niv and beeping my horn  every other second.

Just chillin!!
No sign of Niv. Just before nine I return to the spot where we last saw each other and where Niv would wait for me. No Niv. Shite. What to do? At this point I start to get worried. Niv is an experienced traveller and he can easily find a place to sleep and food in some of the villages of the main road. And having been an officer in the Israelian Armed Forces for four years, he doesn't look like the guy you'd want to mess with. But, what if? What if he got some gas from someone and hit a pile of rocks in the dark? What if he drove into one the gaps in the road and shattered his skull? What if?

I'm calling out for him and beeping all the time, and ask everyone on the way if they've seen a tall guy walking past with a motorbike on his side. A lot of the people don't understand me, one gets out his mobile phone and calls an english speaking friend.

Small village near Yangshuo
Who offers me a Li River tour. And a hotelroom with good views. Right, thanks. By this time, it's ten at night, four hours since I've left Niv. It's pitchdark and it's now getting cold in the mountains. I've had enough of this game. Finally, I get to the ramp where I try to think of the best thing to do. Continue on for a bit, because maybe he missed the ramp again? Head back to Yangshuo, check his motorbike rental place and hostel? Return fifty minutes to the spot where we last saw each other? Try to inform the authorities? Give up, head to bed? When do you stop searching really?

And that's the point where I hear someone shouting, and revving a motor up against the ramp. Niv. On a scooter. What?

Apparently, after waiting for a small hour, Niv figured I must've ran of gas as well, and started walking with his bike.

Ape peeking around the corner
After a while he came across some locals who sold him some gas, but not enough to return to Yangshuo. At a gasstation he bought more gas, drove to Yangshuo and alerted the rental place where I hired my scooter, knowing I would have to return there sometime. He also left a message at his rental place, turning in his motor, and lending a scooter from my place. Then he returned to the ramp, where he waited for my return.

I ought to kick his Israelian ass right then and there, but don't. Instead, we're teaming up the next day for some more exploring. Sigh, I know. This time we're making sure we have motors with working fuelmeters and extra fuel at hand. Even better than the first day in terms of freedom, and this time it's Niv that ploughs a rice field.

Despite how I felt during my search for Niv, now I can look back at it with a smile.

My favorite
Those were some anxious moments, but all in all my two days motor riding with Niv in Yangshuo were two of my best days travelling so far. The scenery, company, freedom, experiences: simply amazing.

vvicy1 says:
Wow, I really want to go here!
Posted on: May 28, 2009
kickasstunner says:
Ah, so this is what Jear's talking about! He directed me to your blog, by the way! Now I'm contemplating on joining him in his China trip next year..hmmm...
Posted on: Aug 01, 2008
mikevirgo0824 says:
It's on like Donkey KOng! Talk about throwing down the gauntlet. Hahaha

Practicing eh? Funny!!!

You need to practice. I do have home court advantage. :D

Plus the language edge. I don't think the English of the Philippine Carabao is that good. Forget Dutch. You might be better off with Spanish as Filipino has its generous share of assimilated Spanish word.

Shoot got to talk to my carabao handler.
Posted on: May 18, 2008
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Welcome to Yangshuo
Welcome to Yangshuo
The good life
The good life
Action shot
Action shot
Ni hao!
Ni hao!
Ploughing a ricepaddy in Yangshuo…
Ploughing in Yangshuo, a great exp…
Ploughing in Yangshuo, a great ex…
Ape to the rescue!
Ape to the rescue!
Just chillin!!
Just chillin!!
Small village near Yangshuo
Small village near Yangshuo
Ape peeking around the corner
Ape peeking around the corner
My favorite
My favorite
On my scooter I hired the first day
On my scooter I hired the first day
The mountain kinda reminds me of t…
The mountain kinda reminds me of …
Yangshuo beauty
Yangshuo beauty
On the Li River
On the Li River
Peaceful, almost another world. No…
Peaceful, almost another world. N…
What a world
What a world
An island in the Li River
An island in the Li River
Karst peaks
Karst peaks
Along the Li
Along the Li
Yangshuo!
Yangshuo!
Li River cruise
Li River cruise
Karst peaks
Karst peaks
Bamboo fishermen
Bamboo fishermen
As seen on the 20 Yuan note
As seen on the 20 Yuan note
Nic in China
Nic in China
Ape in Yangshuo
Ape in Yangshuo
Rice paddies
Rice paddies
Ape and the karst peaks
Ape and the karst peaks
..The road ahead is empty..
..The road ahead is empty..
Racing along the new highway
Racing along the new highway
Karst mountains
Karst mountains
Valley of life
Valley of life
20 Yuan view
20 Yuan view
Monastery above Yangshuo
Monastery above Yangshuo
Heading home after having done the…
Heading home after having done th…
The marktetplace, ever busy
The marktetplace, ever busy
What a view
What a view
Amazing valley
Amazing valley
One of the most beautiful spots on…
One of the most beautiful spots o…
Ape
Ape
Ape in a Yangshuo valley
Ape in a Yangshuo valley
Communal kitchen in a tiny village
Communal kitchen in a tiny village
A pont in a farmers village, part…
A pont in a farmer's village, par…
Planting the rice plants
Planting the rice plants
Ni hao!
Ni hao!
Rice seeds waiting to be planted i…
Rice seeds waiting to be planted …
Hard work for sure!
Hard work for sure!
Alive
Alive
One of the most beautiful scenes I…
One of the most beautiful scenes …
Farmers village
Farmers village
The simple life - amazing
The simple life - amazing
Fully loaded
Fully loaded
Ploughing a ricepaddy in China!
Ploughing a ricepaddy in China!
Im officially a chinese farmer now
I'm officially a chinese farmer now
Grown rice plants waiting to be pl…
Grown rice plants waiting to be p…
The more the merrier
The more the merrier
Villagers resting and Niv, an Isra…
Villagers resting and Niv, an Isr…
Just chillin!
Just chillin'!
Ape at the Dragon Bridge
Ape at the Dragon Bridge
Spells f-r-e-e-d-o-m
Spells f-r-e-e-d-o-m
Irrigation system for the paddies
Irrigation system for the paddies
with Ape
with Ape
Yangshuo scenery
Yangshuo scenery
Niv racing
Niv racing
Yangshuo town
Yangshuo town
The market, everything you could p…
The market, everything you could …
Or ducks, even cheaper
Or ducks, even cheaper
Four chickens, still alive. Mustv…
Four chickens, still alive. Must'…
Dragon Bridge
Dragon Bridge
Yangshuo beauty
Yangshuo beauty
Yangshuo river
Yangshuo river
Moon hill
Moon hill
Yanghsuos moon hill
Yanghsuo's moon hill
Ape at the moon hill
Ape at the moon hill
Valley with peaks on three sides. …
Valley with peaks on three sides.…
Ape in the valley
Ape in the valley
Yangshuo
photo by: sylviandavid