Steven took an even lighter breakfast (toast and an apple) but was feeling better
following a long sleep. Now Daji wasn’t feeling great. After breakfast the
weather wasn't great, cloudy but dry. We decided to take a trip into Yangshou, to see if the town had changed
noticeably following the flooding of a year ago, it hadn’t.
Yangshou is the end
station for 100 or so boats that sail from Guilin each and day along the Li
River. In the afternoon Yangshou is flooded with tourists – there are boats for Chinese tourists and boats for foreign
tourists (who pay more for the pleasure). When they disembark in Yangshou (as
they are not allowed to sail back on the boats) they are greeted by a 1km long
line of vendors selling everything imaginable – the stalls are set up and taken
down every day. At the end of the long line of stalls is West Street – full of
restaurants and shops selling tourist stuff. As the tourists have to get from
the boat to the buses that ship them back to Guilin, they have no choice but to
run the gauntlet past the stalls and along West Street - although it seems that
this is actually one of the main attractions of the trip!
Visiting Yangshou in the morning has the advantage that the tourists haven’t arrived and
the salesmen are (perhaps) a bit less aggressive as they wait for the day’s
influx of tourists. To be truthful there isn’t really very much to do in Yangshou – we walked up and down West
Street a few times, stopped for a drink, bought some clothes and shoes, watched the children returning to
school and spent some time in two adult exercise grounds – swinging legs,
stretching arms and getting the pulse to beat a bit quicker. Whilst sitting in
the park, Lene was stopped by two girls who wanted to practice there English and
asked all sorts of questions - for half an hour!
We eat a light dinner overlooking West Street (Daji only had soup), and walked round a bit more,
seeing Yangshou’s newest restaurant – a massive McDonald’s – barely a month old.
In the evening we sailed out to see a cormorant show – getting onto boats on a
dark quay, made us feel that we were doing some illegal - at least we weren't
alone. We sailed down the river until we pulled up next to a boat with the
cormorant birds, tied at the throat, diving into the water to catch fish they
can’t swallow (due to the string around there throat) and "delivering" them to
the fisherman. There were about 10 birds, and judging by the number of fish they
caught, it can’t be a great business (of course the motors on the boats were
probably scaring the fish away!). The whole show lasted barely an hour, and it
was peculiar to think that this was how fishing took place just 10 years ago -
now it's just a show for the tourists.
On the way back to the hotel we bought a bottle of wine – in Denmark you would
have been able to buy an good bottle of wine for the equivalent of 69RMB.
This bottle was so bad we left it before we'd finished the first glass. We
packed and Steven settled the bill - we'd enjoyed our stay.