People who enjoy travelling typically also enjoy immersing themselves in the local culture. This tour group was no different - we have enjoyed sampling the local food and we much prefer ambling through narrow streets with authentic shops rather than visiting large shopping centres.
Thus, breakfast became a point of interest. Here at the Li River Hotel, the restaurant serves two types of breakfast. To the Chinese visitors it serves congee, noodles, steamed buns and eggs. To Western visitors it serves fried egg, bacon, tomato and toast with marmalade. Our group didn't like this distinction, so this morning Lyle, Jane and Birgit decided to change the standard by ordering Chinese. It was a fun experience for them, but I suspect that tomorrow they'll be ordering the eggs!
Today was our final day of riding. We headed out of town, around some massive roundabouts (where, as bicycle riders, we ignored the normal rules of traffic flow) and out into the countryside again. The trip was like a summary of our entire trip - lovely rural scenery, some hills and undulating roads, a little bit of rain that caused us to break out our rain jackets, some sun
to get us hot and me getting slightly lost and having to turn around to rejoin the group.
The ride took us to the base of Moon Hill, so named because a rock formation looks a bit like a half moon.
The trek to the top consisted of 871 steps (yes, I actually counted them!) and we all got rather hot during the trek. Travellers up the hill are followed by elderly ladies who try to sell drinks and souvenirs. Rather than sit at the top, these ladies "assign" themselves to groups and literally follow them up the hill, with no guarantee of a sale. Sometimes it works - I saw one family buy some cans of Coca Coka for ¥20 each (about $3), but they didn't earn anything from us because our tour leader made sure we all carried enough water.
After the walk we put our bikes on the truck for the last time and bade them farewell. The truck driver / mechanic was very good, because he even returned my pedals that I had forgotten to remove - the type that clip into my shoes that I had brought from home. Good
thing he did, too, otherwise I would have had a bit of trouble when I got home and tried to ride my own bike!
We had a meal at a restaurant at the base of the hill and observed a great many tourists visiting the hill - including school-aged Chinese children and international backpackers.
We returned to our hotel to shower, then went for a cruise down what I think is the Li River. I'm not actually sure because there was no commentary - just a few chairs stuck on a bamboo-imitation boat:
Our trip finished just as a nearby school was dismissed for the day. The road outside was filled with parents on motorcycles waiting to collect their children. This didn't mix too well with tour buses delivering passengers for cruises, and our van driver had to do some incredible manoeuvring to extract the van from the mess of vehicles.
By this stage, the result of a week of adventure touring took its toll on me and I desperately needed a rest. I tried venturing around the city but realised that what I needed most was rest, so I skipped dinner and just went
to bed early. All this holidaying is tiring!
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