Day 148 Saturday, April 24th, 2010.
Yangshuo, China to overnight train (will arrive in Yichang, China on 4/25 and will start Yangtze River Cruise then). Per Intrepid notes, "On day 6 we travel to Liuzhou by public bus in the late afternoon (approx. 3.5 hrs) and board the most basic train of our trip for the overnight journey to Yichang (approx. 18 hrs)."
We don't leave Yangshuo until later afternoon so myself, Paul, Sue, Bruce and Gloria signed up for a cooking class excursion. Our guide picked us up at the hotel around 9am and led us thru a park to the market that I had visited last time with Judy, Dick and Rita (the one where they sell dogs). The guide told us which area not to look at (unless we really wanted to) and took us around and told us about the different vegetables that were in the market, especially the ones we'd be using. We then hop in a van (along with 2 other travelers and an assistant tour leader) and head outside of Yangshuo where the cooking class/restaurant is located. The Yangshuo Cooking School
was created by and still run by an Australian lady who used to
be an Intrepid tour leader but she fell in love with Yangshuo (I can see how) and quit Intrepid and opened the school. I didn't get a chance to meet her, but Bruce and Gloria did- quite an entrepreneur! Anyway, so our guide ends up also being our instructor (many days later- I cannot remember his name). He teaches us to make 5 different dishes: Egg wrapped dumplings; green vegetables with garlic; steamed chicken with mushrooms; stir fried pork with vegetables and oyster sauce; duck with pickled ginger and chillies. I'm quite proud of myself- I may not have been able to chop as fast as the others, used too much peanut oil and stayed the hell away from the chilles, but it all came out tasting pretty damn good. Can't wait to try it out when I get back to the States and settled. The class lasted about 4 hours and we were bused back to Yangshuo where we stocked up on munchies in preparation for our "most basic" train ride.
We all voted that we didn't want the 10 minute walk back to the bus station and twisted Jerry's arm into hiring a couple of golf cart
things (it cost us 1 Yuan each- so about 20 cents) that drove us over. We got on the bus and a couple of hours later we were in Liuzhou and catching a train to Yichang. I didn't realize 'til we were almost at the train station that I had been in Liuzhou with the previous group. We had stayed there for one night but didn't really have time/energy/cooperating weather to do much. Hence why it wasn't fresh in my mind. And, Jerry hates (yes, truly hates), Liuzhou. That was interesting to see. Apparently taxi's don't stop for us tourists because we're usually going short distances and they don't feel it is worth picking us up. So, you have to basically jump in front of their car to keep them from pulling away. So, he was in a lovely mood due to that. I tried to help him out by mentioning that Ling had been able to hire a private bus to cart us around last time we were in town- didn't say it in a whiny voice or anything, just as a "hey, next time this might be easier for you". He kinda snarled at me which didn't go
over well with me. Think it kind of went downhill in our relationship from there.
We grabbed some dinner near the train station and after waiting another hour, got on our overnight train. It was basic, but at least there were only 4 beds in the cabins, not the crowded 6. I shared a room with Jerry, Bruce and Gloria. Damon, Amavalise, Sue and Paul were in another cabin and Steve was in a cabin with 3 strangers. Out of all of us to be on our own, Steve was the perfect one- he's a people person and can get along with anyone and seems to enjoy meeting new people. I poked my head into his room at one point to see how he was doing and he, his 3 new friends and Amavalise were drinking beer, smoking, and playing cards. I think he was okay. My room played some cards for a while and then it was time for lights out. I had wised up for this trip and popped one of my "go to happy place" pills so I actually slept- in my silk sleep sack of course- no way was I touching those friggin sheets/blanket/pillow.
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