Exploring and Enjoying XingPing

Xingping Travel Blog

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A few days ago Bill and I moved to XingPing.  Saturday morning was rainy and cold, which made for a nice lazy morning after our Moon Hill hike.  Saturday afternoon we wandered around XingPing with David, strolling along the back road that runs parallel to the busier main road.  I found a lady with really great fresh buns, and have visited her for my morning fix every day since.  There's even an old crumbling temple boasting a picture of Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton from ages ago.  We made friends with a local painter, and bought a few pieces of art between the three of us.  David headed back to Hong Kong on Saturday night; I'll see him there this coming weekend.


Yesterday the sun came out.  Wow did that make my day.  I haven't seen the sun in over three weeks.  THREE WEEKS!  Criminal!  Bill and I spent the beautiful morning by hiking to the top of one of the karst peaks, Laozhai Hill.  Don't let the name fool you, Laozhai is no hill.  It's easily taller than Moon Hill, and much steeper.  (We've since walked past it a few times or seen it off in the distance and been like "we climbed that!")  The views of XingPing and the Li River from above are spectacular.  So beautiful.  As with Moon Hill, we weren't satisfied with the "top," and hopped a guard rail and hiked an extra thirty feet off to one side.  Not any further up (we were as high as you could go), but more hands-on climbing requiring both hands as we teetered across uneven boulders.
  This granted us a better unobstructed view.  Judging from all the discarded tissues and cigarette butts and other litter on the ground, we weren't the only ones to go that way.

From Laozhai we had lunch.  More street noodles for me and safe comfort food in a legitimate restaurant for Bill.  I splurged and ordered a banana yogurt shake (i.e. plain yogurt and bananas blended; not ice cream shakes like in the States), which was yummy but about a quarter of the size I wanted it to be.  We ran into our friend the painter hanging out with a second painter, and ended up buying art from him as well.

I then did the unthinkable and got a haircut.  Yes, I'm aware it was not the smartest decision I've made.  And no, I'm not terribly fond of the uneven result.
  ("Uneven" is putting it lightly.)  But my hair was SCREAMING to be cut, it was all sorts of mangled.  And while wiser people would have waited until they were in Hong Kong at the end of the week, little Miss Cheap-o was all "screw that, I want a bargain!"  Even then it seems I got ripped off and charged the foreigner fee; the girl at the front desk was all "you paid how much?!"  Thanks Girlie, that's exactly what I wanted to hear.  A cute Swiss girl here claims she likes it, says straight and even haircuts are boring and the unevenness is desirable.  I'm not sure I agree with her, but I definitely appreciate the encouragement.  At the very least, I got all the bugs washed out of my hair.  (Kidding. Sorta.)  The shower here is on the roof, and when it's so cold out you can see your breath indoors, showering on the roof is a FAST endeavor.
  There is NO hair washing to be had.  Dear god I wouldn't dream of it.  Having my head lathered and scrubbed twice over was welcome indeed.  I just keep telling myself uneven doesn't matter when your hair is in a ponytail every day.  Only problem is, it looks uneven in the ponytail too.  Now THAT is saying something.

In the evening Bill and I walked along the river, enjoying the sunset and watching all the boatmen go about their end of day routines.  We then wandered through the neighboring farmland and a small village, exclaiming at a small "creek" of excrement (foul!), and marveling at these little bucket contraptions several people were carrying yolked over their shoulders, essentially dual-loaded watering cans for their crops.  They looked heavy and not the most efficient.
  And here I grumble about having to coil a hose.

We like it here in XingPing.  We're attacked every time we step foot outside of the hostel with "hello! bamboo! bamboo! hello! bamboo!" but the touts aren't as bad as they are in Yangshuo.  And we both enjoy having some "life" to admire and partake in, being in a town, rather than being way out in the countryside with virtually nothing around.  I talk as if I'm in a bustling city, and then I remember I'm in a tiny little town with neither streetlights nor stoplights.  Two weeks ago this would have been as small as it got.  But this place is HOPPING in comparison to Aishanmen.  It's been a good change of pace.
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Some weird gelatinous snack I trie…
Some weird gelatinous snack I tri…
Drying pumelo skins and a passing …
Drying pumelo skins and a passing…
View from my dorm room
View from my dorm room
Map of Laozhai Hill
Map of Laozhai Hill
Map of Laozhai Hill
Map of Laozhai Hill
Laozhai Hill
Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
View from Laozhai Hill
Gazebo at the top of Laozhai Hill
Gazebo at the top of Laozhai Hill
Temple with a photo boasting the C…
Temple with a photo boasting the …
Street noodles with seaweed and ro…
Street noodles with seaweed and r…
Banana yogurt shake
Banana yogurt shake
Signing his artwork for me
Signing his artwork for me
Li River
Li River
Li River
Li River
Li River
Li River
Li River
Li River
Li River
Li River
Check out those irrigation buckets!
Check out those irrigation buckets!
Li River
Li River
Laozhai Hill is the taller peak on…
Laozhai Hill is the taller peak o…
Xingping
photo by: domnicella