We left for the Guilin bus station at 7:30 this morning to see about catching a bus to Yangdi to catch a bamboo raft Xianping. We passed carts of hot dumplings, pancakes, cobs of corn, and eggs. The pancakes looked particularly appealing.
Once we neared the bus station, people kept approaching us advertising their bus. Once we found a bus to Yangdi, we got on and paid the man 20¥. At first there was us and just one other passenger, but the bus kept picking up more and more people as we exited Guilin City.
The bus ride was an odd experience. One man was shaving his head behind us while another kept staring at us. Nicole and I made peanut butter sandwiches and ate them as we divided our attention between the sights outside our window and the TV shows being played on the screen at the front of the bus. One was a particularly odd comic drama about gamblers and magic powers.
After about an hour, we were dropped off at the side of the road with our bags just in time to catch a smaller bus for 3¥ that was as packed as a Spadina street car during rush hour. The scenery was beautiful as we passed rustic fields, farm houses, water birds and buffalo all below a mountain backdrop.
The port was abustle with people with a cluster of motor boats. Nicole bartered with a woman on shore and eventually we got a ride on a raft driven by her father for 350¥. It was a beautiful ride with the mountains, green water, and the shoreline aglow with yellow flowers and bamboo shoots.
Once ashore, we took a bus to Xingping. It was exactly like you’d imagine a rural village in China to be. It was a welcome break from the chaos of Guilin City.
We dropped our bags off at an Hostelling International outpost and walked around looking in the little shops and stopping for lunch at Kelly’s Guesthouse. It was a lovely little restaurant with WiFi, milkshakes, and every food and drink imaginable. It felt so good to eat- I was so hungry!
We visited the temple there then bought some Chinese rice crispy squares being made by two women next door. We then went back to the hostel to pick up our bags and walked down a residential lane to catch the 7¥ bus to Yangshuo.
We always seemed to have the worst luck with buses- on the way to Xianping we’d been too tall to see the landscape out the window, and on the bus to Yangshuo, we had the bar across the window right at eye level. I either had to strain my neck high or crouch down to see other than the side of the road. I felt like a dancing ostrich.
The bus ride was about an hour long and the bumpiest ride of my life. It was interesting to see the contrast and mix of the old mud brick houses and the new concrete buildings, the poultry wandering the front yards, and cattle along the side of the road. The farmland layout and traditional methods used were also fascinating. Really gave me a new perspective on rural life in other countries. China may have some of the most technological advanced factories in the world, but much of the farming appeared to be stuck back in time.
The bus dropped us off in Yangshuo and we took a taxi to the Cozy Garden Hostel. To our surprise, it was out in the country! Our room had no bedside lamps, only an overhead light, and the shower was between the sink and toilet with no shelter around it. Nicole said this was very common in China. Seemed very odd to me- everything would get wet.
We layed down for a bit to rest. There was construction going on outside so we turned on the TV. the clearest channel was playing a Chinese high school drama with magic, all girls underwear volleyball competitions, and duels with light sabers in the library. It was pretty crazy!
We rode two hostel bicycles into town. It was a quaint and picturesque town, but as night fell it got louder and more crowded with music and neon lights everywhere. I found it rather overwhelming and unpleasant once the initial awe wore off.
We spent about an hour looking for a cheap place to eat. This did not appear to exist in the area of town we were in, so ended up paying tourist dollars for the worst Chinese meal I’d had during my trip. However, we were seated on a balcony overlooking the busy street. There were watermelon sellers, traveling karaoke machines, street meat sellers and people throwing colourful winged lights into the air that would fly up and gracefully fall down.
The bike ride home was an adventure. The bicycles didn’t have lights and there were no road lamps once we were out of the city. So I went on ahead with a flashlight as we drove down windy country road. We saw cormorant fisherman on the river on our way home and the shoreline and mountains alit with colourful lights.
Now I lay in bed listening to crickets sing outside our window. Tomorrow we’re going to rent a scooter and drive around the countryside taking pictures. Should be fun!
- Photos taken with an iPhone 4S
- Post made by email. Will add alt tags and formatting when access to WordPress is available.