Yangshou

This morning I woke up, dehydrated and tired but ready for the day. One of the options on our tour was to learn a traditional Chinese cooking dish by going to the local market, picking some meat and veg and cooking it with a chef who works nearby. I opted out of doing that as did most of us. Although I like Chinese food I wouldn’t make it at home as I much prefer South East Asian dishes, so maybe I’ll try that in Thailand. A couple of the guys who did go came back with some traumatising stories. In China it is common to see people strolling the streets walking their dogs, whilst on the other side of the road someone else is eating dog for dinner. It’s bizarre to have a domesticated animal as a pet but it also be your food. Saying that though people at home eat rabbit. After having some grub at one of Yangshous many German eateries we departed for our afternoon activity. 

We were riding 13km on these anicent, rusty bikes through the city into the heart of the Karst mountains. Georgia was really nervous at the beginning. To be fair to her she’s only ever ridden a bike around a campsite in Belgium before. Which is a bit of a jump considering riding bikes in China is lawless, unpredictable and chaotic. As we got going it got better as after a couple of km we exited the city and were on the roads in the countryside, passing by little hamlets, abandoned buildings and people selling strawberrys on the side of the road. The journey supposedly was only supposed to take 40 minutes but we rode for at least an hour and a half in the rain. However, it wasn’t torrential it was the rain that lightly falls from the sky and sort of sticks to you, making you a sapping mess. The views were stunning, it was breathtaking, so magical riding through the mist into the unknown. 

  
We got to the Yulong River and were instructed on which Captain would take us on our bamboo raft. Each raft held two people so me and G went together. It was one of those things that you do in your life that you probably will never do again so it was special. If anyone gets the opportunity to do bamboo rafting, and especially in China I would definitely recommend it. It lasted for about 45 minutes and each 10 minutes or so you dropped and slid down these small Rapids which was really fun!

  
We rode a shorter way back to our hostel which was about 8km away. By now Georgia’s confidence had improved on cycling, this route was much easier aswell because it was totally flat and the road actually had a cycle path. We got back and headed out for dinner. As there is a 10 of us in our group we’ve been sharing all of our dinners. So last night we had around 8-10 dishes and the bill came to £2.50 each which is very cheap. It’s the perfect way to eat as you get to try a bit of everything rather than one dish which in China can end up being terrible. 

We promptly left our dinner and got a minibus to a nearby village where we were able to see cormorant fishing. We boarded a motored bamboo raft which followed the raft where the fishermen was fishing from. He had 5 of the birds catching the fish for him. An elastic band around the birds neck prevents the cormorants from swallowing the fish, so when they jump back on to the raft they can spit them out. They can hold around 7 small fish at a time which is quite impressive considering they full dive underwater.

  
Today was St Patrick’s Day so in true Irish fashion we got drunk. Initially we went back to Monkey Janes for some cheap beer and jäger shots, half of which went down my new Ralph Lauren shirt. After a couple hours of playing game after game of beer pong we headed to KTV. It cost £35 for two hours so £3.50 each and it was one of the best things we’ve done at night since we left. With over 20,000 songs to choose from we all took turns to sing in this huge room which had one huge sofa, it’s own toilet and you can smoke, drink your own beer and eat in there too, definitely worth going to KTV and I will be going again soon without a doubt.

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