Jessie our guide whilst in Yangshou arrived at 6:30am and we met her in the lobby. It was 18 months since we'd
last met, during our previous visit to Yangshou, and her first comment was how much
Yanmei had grown. The children remembered her as well.
We checked out and left Guilin to a beautiful sunrise. We drove through the
countryside along the Li River. Many people were already up and working the
fields and there was also a lively traffic on the river - even at this time of
the morning. After about an hour, we arrived at a small village and boarded a small boat for
a trip along the river towards Xingping. The scenery was just as beautiful as we
remembered with karsts lining the river banks a truly magnificent sight.
We sailed for about an hour or so before arriving at Xingping even though the sun was shining, it was fairly cold. Xingping is famous in China as the scene depicted on the back of the 20 RMB is taken in this small farming town along the Li River. It was market day, so there was a lively activity across the river.
We walked along the bank of the river through green fields and stopped in the
town for breakfast. We eat a Chinese breakfast consisting of noodles and steamed buns sitting in a barn the
meal was good, warm and filling, and cost 23RMB for all five of us.
We continued on to the market, and were surprised by the vast variety of the
goods available all the vegetables and fruit fresh brought to the market by
the local farmers. The market takes place on dates ending in 3, 6 or 9, and you
can find more or less anything you need when living in a small Chinese town or
village fruit and vegetables, rice, noodles, flour, numerous varieties for
sugar, eggs, chickens (dead or alive), herbs and spices, flowers, seeds, meat
including dog meat (we saw dead dogs ready to be cut up) and all sorts of
household goods and spare parts needed for ploughs or other farming appliances
as well as shoes and clothes. We also saw a lady selling her hair to be used as
wig - Jessie told us that the lady would get ca. 50RMB for her hair.
The market was packed Jessie told us that when she was young it was one of her
clearest memories getting 1RMB on market day and experience life at the market
before buying noodles for lunch and even having some money left over to buy some
candy. We left the market and continued to drive through the countryside towards
Yangshou - arriving at our hotel before lunch.
The hotel was less than 18 months old and the people seemed very friendly. We
were shown up to our room, a big double room with two single beds in the one
room and a double bed in the other room. The room was fairly cold thanks to the
cold weather of the previous weeks and the fact that we were fairly tired
getting up so early. We rested before buying some fruit for lunch.
We took a walk outside the hotel, the hotel was close to a village and little
else. Not wanting to take the trip into Yangshou, we decided to climb a karst
next to the hotel. It was a steep and strenuous climb despite the fact there was
a man made path all the way up. The effort was
rewarded already halfway up with great views along the river and across the
countryside. We continued to the top, where the view was equally impressive.
Coming back down was harder work than going up, leaves making it slippery.
Back down we took a drink at the hotel - Daji managing to get a piece of left
over cake from a birthday party. Lene and Steven took a walk
into the local village, the fields green, but the pond in the middle of the
village green and dirty- we wondered why the villagers dont try and keep their
villages a bit cleaner.
The past weekend and the coming week, the Chinese celebrated the equivalent of All Saints Day
where you pay your respects to dead family members. The Chinese do this be
setting off firecrackers next to the grave in order to scare away the evil spirits. They
then leave; paper money, so the dead have money to use and are happy.
Throughout the week we heard firecrackers and saw lots of gravestones with
"monopoly" money lying around.
We eat at the hotel the food was good but the service was amazingly slow
made worse by the fact that the dining room had no heating and open windows it
felt so cold. After a quick cup of coffee we took an early night tucked well
away under the quilts.