Published: June 1st 2007June 1st 2007
Yangshuo view with lotuses in the foreground
On our last day in Yangshuo (one of my favorite destinations ever) we decided to rent a scooter and check out as much of the countryside as possible. Our butts and legs were still somewhat sore from the mountain biking adventures on the previous day. Finding a scooter that would fit the both of us was somewhat difficult.
I had [something close to] a hand-drawn map, a scooter with a full battery, and an eager girlfriend on riding on the back seat telling me not to go too fast (we quickly discovered that we had the worlds slowest scooter - much to her delight). It was going to be a good day (not to mention the 95 degree weather). And it was a good day. The best way to check out this area is from a bike or a scooter at a slow pace. Around every bend lay another great photo opt., or a friendly Chinese man/woman/child excited to test out the one english word that they know "Hello".
We puttered past fields of rice, small villages, winding streams with stone bridges that had been around for longer then our entire country. The history in China is quite
After the tire issue
impressive - but at the same time, its hard to get a feel for it because things are constantly being updated - or repainted or refinished - so a lot of these old temples don't really look that old because they have a fresh coat of paint on them.
The landscape in this area is really dramatic. Imagine multi-leveled rice fields running off into the distance with GIGANTIC cliffs poping up all over the place. All these cliffs have twisted narly trees on them, and all the fields have buffulo and asia rice picker hats dotting them.
Haley and I are driving around really taking it all in. We're probably over an hour away from town - on some tiny back road - barely a road. I'm actually wondering if this road leads anywhere (but don't let haley know that). We see a small group of old chinese men sitting under a tree - that we pass - all pointing down a side street. The locals always seem to have some sort of site that they want to charge you a few bucks to see - we politely wave and say hi as we pass then BANG/POP/EXPLOSION!!!!!!!!! Our
back tire blew up! Oh man.....what the hell are we going to do out here in the middle of nowhere???? The old men are giggling in the background - and I instantly think that we have fallen victom to the old "I just happen to have a bike repair shop here...and ohhh..there just happens to be a lot of tacks in the road right in front of the shop scam" But that doesnt seem to be the case - they all come over and talk to us - and point at the tire - and they they all do there impression of the POPing sound (which is actually really funny because they are all old and toothless). And just before I even get a chance to lose hope in our desperate situation a old "truck" like thing comes around the corner. These things are closer to a tractor with a completely exposed engine (spilling gas and oil everywhere - and go terribly slow (even slower then the scooter - slower then walking). The chinese men flag him down (which isnt hard considering we are standing in the middle of the dirt path). After a lot of sign language and pointing
no one has any real idea of what is going on but i get the impression that this guy is giong to take us to the edge of town. We happily load our downed bike into the back of this tractor thing and then endure the BUMPIEST ride of our lives.
We eventually make it back to civilization and I give this guy (who didnt expect any money) a tip that made him grin from ear to ear. We had some slight issues with our bike rental company but nothing that couldn't be worked out.
All in all a very eventful day. We are now back in Beijing finishing up a few last things before we head home.
- Haley and I have taken purse shopping to the next level. We just recently discovered that most of these street shops have a secret back room with all the high end fake gear. And they only invite certain people into the back....
- I have a new barganing record - we got something that started at 1700 down to 150. Talk about a markup in price
- I love dumplings - I have dumplings everday day.....(known
in the states as potstickers)
- We met a really nice couple in Yangshou that had been keeping up with our blog as well - hey guys!
1650 to 150
There are more photos below