YangshouOctober 10, 2014 in China ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C
Over breakfast I chatted with Jana who suggested having the omelette with ham, mushrooms and tomatoes in the middle. It was amazing! I'll definitely be making that when I get back to England though I might throw in some chorizo (Bollam and Penelope know how much I love chorizo). I was deciding what route to cycle. Most people cycle up the Li river and take a bamboo raft back into Yangshou. Jana said she looked into it but it was quite expensive to take a raft for one person and the Youlong was cheaper. Jana was planning to cycle to the tea plantation which was near the same route as the cycle route to the River Youlong. And after a lot of faffing around on my part I decided to do the Youlong route and asked Jana if she wanted to join me and that we could take a detour and go via the tea plantation and take a trip on a bamboo raft which was cheaper with the 2 of us. I asked the girl at reception about how we would take a detour and I was met with a direct "no!" The Chinese are funny like this. Do anything outside the normal process and you're met with a very direct "no". It was like the dude at the rice terraces when we asked about skipping the cable cars. He ended up being right. I don't think they mean to come across so direct, I think it's mainly down to the language barrier. She said it was too steep, but surely that's subjective. But then she said she did it once by moped and wanted to die. Extreme but OK I'll trust her this time. She gave us a bunch of photos with directions to get us there and off we went.
Getting out amongst the karst mountains was amazing. It was so beautiful and tranquil. It was nice to be away from all the touristy stuff and cycle through all the little villages. I also got a chance to get to know Jana better. I can't remember exactly what we talked about but we were just chatting about our travels and life back home. She was really easy to get on with. Definitely a good travel buddy and made cycling this route far more enjoyable than if I did it on my own. Minus a couple wrong turns we made it to the raft. At first we weren't entirely sure if we were in the right place or if someone was going to steel our bikes (they load it onto a truck and drive it down to your end destination). Sod it we'd just go with it and see what happens. We bought 2 random things from the vendor, it's all they had left and jumped onto the raft. We tucked into this giant dumpling which turned out to be like a Chinese doughnut with really sweet sugar in the middle. And we had this green jelly stuff which for the life of me would not come off my finger. It didn't taste of much. It was relaxing to take in the surroundings at super slow speed, there must be hundreds of these karst mountains. But as we got further down the river there was a drop in front of us. How is our raft going to avoid that? Oh wait it doesn't. It goes straight over it going front first and drenching my feet. This was the first of many steps in the river on the way down. I'll post a video of this later so you know what I mean. Totally unexpected but was fun. As we got closer to the end our steerer/punter/captain? asked if we wanted some fish from this women on the raft. Why not?
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