I Heart Yangshuo!

I love this place. Imagine the mountains, the beach (okay, really a river not a beach, but it’s water) and Burbon Street all in one place. THAT is Yangshuo! And the icing on the cake? This place is dirt cheap. Ya’ll know I’ve been doing the hostel thing–I sort of switch it up, depending on whether I’m in the mood to be around a lot of people. The first night I was in a “dorm” room–25 yuan per night (about $4 and change). So I decided to “upgrade” LOL to a single room for 60 yuan a night. I don’t have my calculator but I guess that’s about 8 bucks? And of course the beer is cheap, food is cheap…and the scenery is BEAUTIFUL. For real, I don’t even know if I want to leave, LOL.

Last night when I got in, I met a guy named William (well, he’s Chinese and that’s his American name) and he introduced me to his friend, Simone and some other folks. We went out–four of us ate dinner and had 10 bottles of beer–I haven’t posted the pictures of the bottles yet, but they are about the size of a 24 ounce maybe…they are huge…and the bill was 82 yuan. Not even $15, LOL. Then we walked down to the river front and had tea. It was a late night out. But it was fun.

This afternoon, Simone, a woman named Michelle from South Africa and me decided to go to one of the big attractions around here, Moon Hill. We each rented a bike for the day (5 yuan for the entire day–less than a dollar, LOL) and took a 30 minute bike ride out of the city. We were going to go to Moon Hill right away, but decided to stop and do a cave tour. This one was MUCH better than the cave tour I did in Guilin the other day. The main attraction for this cave? A mud bath. Yes people, I stripped down to my undies (btw, don’t ever wear white underware if there’s a chance you’ll end up in a mud bath…don’t think the mud color will ever come out, LOL.) and took a swim in the mud. Of course I had to do it “sista girl style” and wear a bright red plastic bag over my head b/c I refused to try and get mud out of my braids, LOL. You know, we could float in the mud…without any effort. It was easier to float in the mud than to float in water! The pictures on my camera didn’t come out all that well because it was so dark. But trust, I bought a copy from the folks there (10 yuan–a dollar and some change, LOL) and it is hella funny. I can’t wait to show it to you.

Then we finally made our way to Moon Hill. After about 728 steps ( I counted on the way down) we got to the top. The view was absolutely breathtaking. We could see the entire town–and unlike Beijing (and even Xi’an) the sky was clear. (That’s been an ongoing debate amongst travelers–is the sky really just cloudy in Beijing, or is that pollution that’s blocking the sun everyday. I personally, vote for the latter…)

It was dark by the time we made our way back down (ya’ll know I’m scared of the dark–I had some Blair Witch thoughts going through my head, LOL). We got back on our rickity bikes and rode the 30 minutes back in the city, got dinner, and here I am. I am soooo exhausted! But today was one of the most relaxing (although a bit challenging–I swear the Chinese like to have visitors climb mountains!!) days in a LONG time.

I do actually think I’m going to leave this wonderful place tomorrow night and head for Hong Kong. I’m going to miss this place!

One final, random note, before I sign out. One of the things I knew I’d have to get use to in China were the toilets. And I knew I would get sick eventually, but I’d been lucky enough to be able to find a western style toilet if needed–or stay in a place with a western style toilet. My one hang up about Yangshuo–I haven’t seen one yet. AND this would be the time that I ended up having to pop pepto bismol tablets every half hour, LOL. Do you know how…uhm…uncomfortable it is to try and use the bathroom and not have a bowl to sit on? I mean, you do what ya gotta do, but you’ll understand better when I can post some pictures….