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June 7th 2008
Published: June 10th 2008
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Random LakeRandom LakeRandom Lake

On the way to Moon Hill there is a truly odd-looking building just off the road. This is the extraordinary view from its first floor - completely unnoticable from the road.
From Macau we journeyed to backpacker favorite Yangshuo, via Guangzhou (Canton). Compared to later journeys (see next blog once I've written it) this one was only very stressful. All we saw of Guangzhou was its smart metro system, the bus station waiting room and millions of Chinese. The bus to our destination was pretty fun, both due to the exceptionally bumpy roads and the alcoholic American in front of us who started loudly accusing the enitre bus of conspiring to steal his cigarettes (in the middle of the night). By fun I mean horrendous.

The dawn views of Guangxi's countryside as we approached Yangshuo were truly memorable. Swirling mists swept across endless paddy fields, and then suddenly the region's mighty karst peaks began to emerge from the gloom, their ludicrously steep sides seeming to defy common sense (as well as gravity). The peaks provided a permanently breathtaking backdrop to our daytime forrays into the countryside. Specifically we took a boat trip down the Li River, and cycled to the frankly perplexing Moon Hill before climbing up to the grand archway which provides its name. Hopefully the photos will do some justice to the astounding beauty of this part of China.
Moon HillMoon HillMoon Hill

A view from the cafe at the bottom.

The scenery wasn't the only great thing about Yangshuo. For one thing, we enjoyed some fantastically cheap beer - not quite as fine as Thailand's mighty Chang Beer, but great value for money. Apart from an easy path to drunkenness, the aptly named 'Foreigner Street' offered a great range of souvenirs, which tempted even me to a little shopping. Needing a new T-shirt, I purchased one displaying "No Beer No Happy" proudly across the chest in Chinese characters. Waitresses and shopkeepers would repeat the slogan delightedly whenever I walked near, calling over their friends to have a look too. I was rather hoping it actually read "I'm a stupid tourist", but no apparently it's genuine.

We could have stayed in the area a lot longer, but it so happened that a major Dragon Boat race was being held on the Li River to coincide with the annual festival. Whilst this would have been interesting to witness, the event was expected to draw a deluge of Chinese, thus sending accommodation/travel costs sky high. So we scarpered.

Additional photos below
Photos: 4, Displayed: 4


View from Moon HillView from Moon Hill
View from Moon Hill

The view was made even more spectacular by the heavy rain which had just soaked us!
Li RiverLi River
Li River

This is a decent approximation to the view which appears on a [i]20 yuan[/i] banknote.

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