I have a few things to wrap up and then I’ll be done with Yangshuo.
- Anders’ team could not have been nicer to us. They treated us like we were royalty. We went to the noodle restaurant for breakfast, were told to sit down (no waiting in line for us) were presented with a menu, asked what we wanted, and a tray appeared with our bowl of noodles. We did not order one bite of food the entire weekend. I got up to pour tea and was practically tackled at the knees by 2 of the women! They were not going to let the laoban’s wife pour tea for everyone at the table. The ironic thing is that I am the only one in the group that doesn’t have a job! This hierarchy stuff doesn’t fly with me but I’m trying.
- It was amazing to see rural China. These “country people” work very hard just to live day-to-day. Ben had told me a while ago when we saw some beggars that frequently the “country people” will go to a larger city and beg because there’s simply no way for them to make a living in the winter at home. They have no other way to put food on the table so they come to cities to beg for a few months and when the growing season starts again they go home. I can see what he means. We were off the highway for about 50 miles and driving through these places was eye-opening. So many people sitting in front of their store-fronts and along side the road watching life go by. There were also a lot of people out working their fields with cows that were pulling their farm equipment! I only ever saw that in Lancaster, PA in Amish country. So many people bent over from the waist digging, planting, weeding, and watering their patches of land. Back-breaking work that I think they do for most of the daylight hours just to have food for the table. R-E-S-P-E-C-T
- In an odd way the town of Yangshuo reminded us a bit of places we’ve been in Europe. The karst mountains were backdrops at the ends of streets, the cobble-stones, bars, restaurants, cafes, outdoor seating, lots of people, and a general good life atmosphere.
- Our travel companions introduced us to a really cool game one night while we were at a coffee shop/bar. It was so much fun and too involved to explain but we played it for about an hour and a half. It’s a popular game at universities. I love how they play games to keep themselves occupied while waiting for food or to pass time the time while enjoying a few drinks. So Anders and I did our American part and introduced them to the brainless but oh so fun game of Spoons. I actually packed spoons and cards hoping for the chance. Actually it was supposed to rain every day and I figured we’d need something to do. Our chance came at dinner on Saturday night. We had time to kill before we headed our for the evening’s entertainment so I whipped out my spoons. It was so much fun!! Other people in the restaurant were stopping by to see what was going on. Later in the night as we were waiting outside in a pavilion area to see a show they wanted to play again. There was no table and no place for cards or spoons, but they wanted to play. (we didn’t)
- The show we saw was an outdoor music and light show that was directed by the man who directed the opening/closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. The mountains and river are used for the scenery and it was amazing. The performers are the local farmers, fishermen, boatmen, and residents. They work their jobs by day and perform in the show at night. What a great way to give them earning power. I understood about 5 words of the songs but I didn’t need to understand the story to appreciate the show. I wish I had photos but night shots without the use of a tripod are just blurry! 😦 There was a group of women that had a difficult time not talking at the beginning of the show and our team kept shushing them. It was funny because the women were about 40 years older than them but they weren’t shy about telling them to be quiet. No respect there. 😉
- On our return ride home on Sunday we stopped at a tourist destination that Anders and I had no clue we were scheduled to make. On the back of the 20RMB bill is a beautiful drawing of the Li River. I knew this before we left but didn’t think we were going to see it. We walked for about 15 minutes and came upon the spot where you can see and compare. It was beautiful. Unfortunately I have been trying since we got back to procure a 20RMB and all I keep getting are two 10’s. Trust me, the photos I took look just like the drawing. That got me to looking at the other RMB notes and I think I have a few trips to make to complete the Chinese RMB drawing tour. Oh Anders, the travel part of my brain is ALWAYS scheming.:-)
- The town where we stopped on Sunday is also where our travel companions did a lot of food shopping. This is where they bought their candies and snacks. Let me tell you – they all know how to bargain. It’s a sport to them and as a spectator it’s fun to watch. They are ruthless though which doesn’t exactly fit in with the whole “aren’t they sweet for treating us like king and queen personas. (that’s probably supposed to be personae)
- I hope I behaved well enough that they invite me on another trip. I may have sealed my invitation with the cookies. My mom didn’t raise no dummy.;-)
5PM – 83°