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Published: July 29th 2009
This was our night bus from Shenzhen to Yangshuo
Having left Causeway bay and my lovely little flat, the adventure began....
Once in Shenzhen
it was a little tricky finding the bus station, and my brother and I weren't entirely convinced that we were in the right place, but thankfully we were. The bus was quite comfortable which was a relief because we were going to be on board for ten hours. It left at 19.30 and was three beds wide, with two bunks. Not designed for 6 foot men like my brother (David) but comfortable enough for me!
Arriving in Yangshuo
at about 5am was interesting, having to bat off the sales pitches from taxi drivers and hostel owners...when in fact we could walk for 5 minutes and find a street full of hostels. We just had to wait until daylight for them to open! After a proper nap in the hostel bed, we ventured out into town and took a bamboo raft ride down the Li river, and a stroll around town. We watched the impressions light show in the evening, with the dramatic backdrop of the limestone peaks, a very impressive show.
We attempted the hike along the Li river, but it wasn't very clearly
marked and there aren't any good maps yet! Once we'd walked for an hour or so we had no choice but to get on a bamboo raft to continue upstream. The views were just as stunning albeit on a noisy engine powered raft as opposed to foot.
Next stop Guilin
, an hour an a half bus ride away.
Guilin for me was a day in bed due to food poisoning, but David had a wander and found some nice looking parks.
Thankfully, we were able to get 80%!o(MISSING)f our train fare back and delay the next leg of the journey by one day...
After that small blip we boarded a 19 hour train to Chongqing
. It left at 13.30 and arrived the next morning, passing through some pretty countryside. Aside from being noisy and a little hot, it was quite a good journey, and gave me some more mandarin practice.....lessons in which have proved to be very handy! I'm enjoying practising every day and it has helped us out a lot.
Chongqing was not much to write home about - a very industrial city with pollution like I have never seen before. The Yangzi river
is brown, and there is a haze on the other side behind which some buildings make themselves almost invisible.
A two day cruise down the Yangzi river took us into the three gorges, and even a side trip in a dragon boat on the Yangzi, paddles and all! We went down a smaller gorge and walked along part of it, to a small theatre where we had to endure a 40 minute play in Chinese with pretty bad dancing and acting, at extreme volume! The scenery along the 3 gorges was lovely, but still slightly hazed by the pollution.
We ended the boat trip with a tour of the three gorges dam, an enormous project and a huge pile of concrete. It is not picturesque to say the least, but impressive it is. A feat of engineering, but the consequences of which are open to debate.
We spent one night in the interesting town of Yichang
....I am being sarcastic here - the brothels were non-discreet and in abundance. We did actually have rather a good evening to be fair to Yichang - with 2 felllow travellers, we stopped by a little noodle bar, and had some dinner
prepared for us and sat in the street once the enthusiastic and ever so happy owner bought out a table and chairs for us! My mandarin came in very handy when I asked if she had any beers, and we enjoyed a cold beverage with our very spicy cold noodles!
After Yichang we headed north on a bus to Shiyan
, a city lived on the streets. There were old carts filled with fruits and vegetables, backs of vans filled with watermelons for sale, and an abundance of individuals sitting on the streets cooking up pots of noodles for passers by. We found a fantastic little restaurant for a steamed dumpling and noodle dinner. ...fingers crossed that will provide me with the energy I need to climb Wudang Shan tomorrow........
J x A few things I've noticed so far....
Watermelons....very popular, and everywhere!
Health and safety is optional
Not much order...if you want a bus, just wait for someone to shout your destination out of a window!
Smoking...literally everywhere, all the time
It's fine to throw your litter...anywhere (obviously I don't!)
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