Day 17: Training through my birthday
This is my second holiday where I have my birthday.Â And the organization knew that.Â They have bought me cake!Â And Chinese cake taste pretty delicious. We only had one attraction today before we had over to the train for a long trip to Yangshuo. We were visiting Naigu Stone forest. This park has very nice rock formations formed when they were still in water and was pushed to the surface a long time ago. The park started with a field of pink and white flowers.Â These are the Chinese national day flowers and the Chinese love them very much and take a lot of photos of them.Â After that flower field the formation starts.Â They were beautiful with nice paths between them and nice viewpoints.Â It is always good to be in nature again.
The train station for our next long train ride was luckily near the park.Â It was also a small station what makes it easier to get on. The train ride was pretty fun.Â There were a lot of laughs, lot of reading and talking and finally lot of playing cards with a Chinese audience.
Day 18: Showtime in tourist town
It was the last train ride from this vacation and I had a good sleep.Â Everyone was enjoying some coffee and breakfast that we bought before we went on this trip.Â And the view over the Karst Mountains was spectacular.Â At the station we met our guide Billy and drove to our hotel in Yangshou by bus.
After freshen up we went for lunch. Sadly it was not the best Chinese food I had. Apparently it is possible to serve not so delicious food in China. While eating we saw a lot of western tourist walking around. Apparently this is a place to visit. On our trip we have not seen so many western tourists. First we walked to the river and see more of the famous Karst Mountains. After a quick fresh up in the hotel we went to search for some nearby geocaches. One of them was on top of a hill giving a nice view over the town.
After a quick bite at a restaurant called â€œLucyâ€™s Placeâ€, we went to see â€œImpressionâ€ a show by the Chinese creator who also did the Beijing Olympics. It was beautiful show with a lot local fisherman and other actors to earn extra money in there tough lives. There were a lot of actors: 600 but also a lot of audience: 3000. There are more than 10 million now since 2004 that has seen the show. It is worth it: the Karst scenery, the lighting, the cloths, and the torches made it quite an experience. We ended the evening with being a Dutch guy drinking a Mexican beer in a German bar in China.
Day 19: Biking, climbing and floating
The morning started at Lucyâ€™s for her famous breakfast. Baguette, orange juice, scrambled eggs, banana pancake and of course good coffee. After breakfast the whole group went out for a tour on rental bikes. I had a decent mountain bike for this trip. We started with a nice track near the Yulong River. After a while we arrived at a place along the river where we could get onto bamboo rafts. I and my raft partner had a very weird, lazy money driven Chinese as our rafter, he was so bad that he took the fun out of the experience for me. I was glad to be on my bike again.
Our next stop was Moon Hill, which is a hole in a mountain that could be climbed for a small fee. A small group of us went for the 20 minute climb. There were mountain climbers busy climbing the wall, that was quite impressive. After watching this beautiful view we went down again talking to other western tourists. It was quite nice to talk to other people who can understand English.
After a nice lunch at the bottom of the mountain, we continued our journey on our bikes back to town on a scenic route. We were passing unfinished roads and unfinished building because there was no money left anymore. Back at the hotel it was time for some shopping and relaxing. To close the day I went for a nice burger and some beers at Lucyâ€™s.
Day 20: More biking and floating but also fishing
Today I had the morning and afternoon off, so I started with a relaxed breakfast at Lucyâ€™s with an extra coffee.Â Afterwards I went to the rental place again to rent me a bike. The lady recognized me, so no deposit was needed. I wanted to go for a geocache, but for some reason my GPS refused to work, luckily along the route I met up with our guide who had the same destination as me, because the location was a Dutch hostel. After a nice talk with the Dutch owners I continued my trip along the Yulong River. To complete the round I had to bike along a large road. I did not want to do that so I went for the adventurous route. It took my through a landscape of a lot trash, abandoned buildings. But it also took me over a nice path with a lot of dirt and bushes. I was glad to have a nice mountain bike. My guess is that next year there will be a paved road there.
Back at the town I went for a nice lunch and beers at Lucyâ€™s. After a quick fresh up I went with the group to a boat. We had a nice ride over the river with beautiful views over the Karst Mountains. To make it more perfect, beer was sold on board. We could also see the sun set behind the mountains leaving a very nice purple-ish sky before it went under.
In the dark, we arrived at our diner place where we had a lovely dinner, with the local dish: â€œBeer fish. Because it is fish I did not eat it. At request of one of our group, dog was also on the menu. I did not eat it as well, according to the guy who tasted it was like a steak beyond well done. AndÂ the bones were also still on it. So I was like: â€œNaah I passâ€. The evening ended with a traditional Cormorant fishing. With 6 cormorant (Dutch: Aalscholver) with a rope on their neck, he just floats over the river, keeping an eye on his birds. When one has he big fish he cannot swallow it because of the rope. The fisherman crabs the bird and claims the fish. It was dark already so the fisherman had a light on his (fake) bamboo raft with a generator. We were next to him in our boat. At the end of the tour, he showed us his catch and we could take pictures of him and his birds.