Scooters, mud and happy hour!!!
Well its been awhile now travelling together, and we've gotten quite comfortable around each other. Since the first part of our trip was quite cold.......well...........us girls...........we sort of let ourselves go. We desparately needed a 'pretty' night, some waxing, manicures, pedicures, facials, and involved Clint in every step of the process, he joined us in our facials, then, when it got too difficult to do ourselves............Clint waxed our legs..........we dont know where or when or how, nor do we want to know..........but turns out he's quite good at it and now has become our official waxer for the trip!!! Read on to learn about the group shower.........
Since our last entry we have travelled from Guangzhou to Guilin, another big city. We spent the day riding around on bikes, yet again, climbing various hills that are scattered throughout the city and countryside.
We also experienced our first rainy day in China, spent the majority of the day in our muggy hostel, attempting to work Chinese Dvd's and Tv's, not so easy with Chinese remotes. So the day was spent making friends, playing pool and catching up on some emailing. That night Doria and I braved the streetmeat again and opted for the traditional hotpots. You get a clay pot of steamed rice and you get to choose your toppings, veggies and various meats (?!), they give you a little dish to choose which ones you like, Doria and I being quite confused since the bowl was so small, we tried to get our monies worth and put as much into our little bowl as possible, not knowing that the food mulitplies in the kitchen, and we each ended up with massive dishes of veggies (still afraid of the meats......). Turned out to be quite good!! We made a friend with a local Chinese man, very drunk, but quite entertaining.........he thought it was great that we could read the English town on his Chinese train ticket and then thought we could also speak Chinese.
We took a boat from Guilin to Yangshuo, we have started taking the Chinese tours because they are cheaper, although the downside is they never stop talking in Chinese, the food is dodgey and the transportation usually second class, but are also quite entertaining for us being the only whities on the trips. We are in many peoples photos all over China, of all the things to see in China, we are usually their best souvenir. The boat trip was 4 hours down the Li River through rice fields, local villages and many green hills and cliffs. The climate has changed dramatically, very hot and humid.........our tans are on their way back!!
Yangshuo is a very westernized Chinese resort town, very much like Banff, but not. There are tons of trendy cafes, white tourists, tons of shopping, and many whities who have made it home (ie, mountain climbers from around the world........Canadian and Aussie bar owners).
We rented a scooter for the day, such a dodgey thing to do in China....tons of traffic, no road rules, no scooter experience, no license required, or helmets, yikes........but fun. We scootered out to Moon Hill and went for a bit of a climb then hopped back on our speed demons (max 20 km/hr, silent and electric), went through a village and then to Real Water Cave. More dodgey Chinese tourism. We hopped on some wooden boats that have seen better days, they gave us 'hard hats' to wear that resemble a childs toy, and then row you under a cliff that leaves absolutely no head room so you are laying down in each other's laps. The cave tour was uneventful and quite boring, but we were only really in it for one reason. We took a mud bath. Probably wouldnt have been so much fun if there was good lighting and we could actually see what we were getting ourselves into, was basically a big pool full of cold mushy mud, with chunks of something we dont want to know what.... We got covered, then went down a slide in the rock into the mud puddle.......the pics tell the story. Was all good fun till we had to rinse off in freezing water, this time we were thankful for the crappy lighting cause Doria and I stripped to our birthday suits to get all the mud out of our crevices. Clint tried not to look........but the Chinese sure did, there were a few flashes going off......
We had our first argument with the Chinese when we returned our scooters, drew quite the crowd. Dorias mirror fell off in her hand while she was adjusting it, so obviously had a previous crack in it, and they refused to give us back our deposit until we paid for the damage...........when really they use the tourist to fix the damages on their bikes, or dont fix them at all........they threatened to call the cops, harsh words were exchanged, we paid the 10 yuan (ok only 2 dollars but thats besides the point) and walked away. This is Dorias second run in actually, the first was when she was bargaining for a purse and the lady didnt like the price she offered, she threatened to kill her..............."I kill you!!!"....She ended up getting the purse at the low price.......haha
We rented some bikes (cause we really like to do that) and rode through the country side for about 3 hours. It is quite tropical here, many rice fields around and its the time of year for planting so many of the local farmers were out working their fields. We stopped to watch one older couple do it and thought they must be the best dart players around, they just toss the plugs straight into the mud and they always land perfect..............then they spotted us watching and let each of us give it a try...........its actually very easy!! Now we have to come back in a few months and see how our little rices are doing!! Just how do you harvest rice????? We got lost a few times, and the comfy, leasure bikes Doria and I chose for our relaxing country bike tour ended up being a pain in the ass.......literally............a few wrong turns and we were backroading through rocky village terrain..........all good fun........
We have loved it here, has been very relaxing, spent a lot of our time just wandering around, shopping, hiking, picking random roads to follow into the country, and eating good food!!
Speaking of food.............they have many specialties on a lot of their menus, snake, dog, bamboo rat, rabbit..........we were walking down an alley one day where a crowd had gathered, and got there just on time to see a local man pull a snake out of a bag and slit its throat while holding it upside down, draining the blood into a glass, which was later mixed with the local rice whiskey to drink. They then skinned it, with the tail still coiling itself around the mans arm, and separated the meat from the organs..............delicious......... blood down the streets and head in the gutter.
We've been keeping ourselves busy at night too, enjoying the western run bars and happy hour, as well as taking in some Cormorant fishing.......watching the fisherman on his bamboo raft letting the birds feed, then hauling them in by the ropes around their necks to gag the fish out of them.
We also took in a light show with traditional Chinese music and entertainers, it was in an outdoor theater in water framed by the mountains, very beautiful setting and great show with about 400 people with their costumes all lit up in an act together.
We have now been in China for over a month now and even the Chinese are starting to think we are one of them! We got our portraits painted onto a t-shirt one night...and the guy looked like he was really concentrating on our features...but when the shirt was done...we all looked the same.. CHINESE!!
The Chinese may be rude, dirty, pushy, like to pee in the streets, and train their kids to do the same...loud and honk at anything that moves...BUT....we now know them as very hard working, friendly,accomodating and kind people...who will start any conversation with you..if it be in Chinese, English or some form of Chinglish! They build anything anywhere..especially if it involves building thousands of steps up to it. They will one day take over the world..and they deserve it.. we will all back them up!
Tommorow we look forward to doing some rock climbing..and then we will go to see some rice terraces, and then to Kunming, our last stop in China..before venturing into Vietnam. Keep ya posted!