Yesterday was a wonderful day. We started out with a good breakfast at the hotel. Although I think there are one or two more couples here, we are normally the only ones in the restaurant. Our group now consists of Jeff, Xinya and I as well as my friend Maggie, her twin girls, Zoe and Ella and Maggie’s family friend Sylvie. (Maggie’s husband and young son are at home having some man time) Tomorrow when we leave to go to the province where Xinya was born, Maggie will head to the province where her girls were born.
After breakfast, we put in our laundry and made some arrangements for the following day. It was another foggy day and looked like rain. Since it is forecast to rain every day we are here, we have decided not to be deterred by that. We set out on bicycles. The hotel had plenty to choose from and Xinya and I picked a tandem bike. (I wanted the help!) Jeff made a mistake and chose the one with no fenders, not so pleasant in the mud!
We biked through the country side, around the mountains on both busy streets and country roads. There were small fields, rivers and small houses.
At the base of the mountain there were a lot of grave sites. We ended up at a small village. There were four women outside the old part of the village in a small tent with a sign, “ancient village receiving committee.” They would let us in and give us a tour for twenty yuan per adult, kids free. That meant ten US dollars for all of us, so we decided to go for it. We didn’t even haggle, I guess it was so odd, it took us off guard. An older woman took us through the village and gave a great explanation of the village, it’s history and the architecture….in mandarin… we couldn’t understand much at all! Anyway, it was very interesting to wander through the maze of buildings and see the ornate carvings on the door ways, the woodwork and the style of the houses. The tour culminated in a visit to an even older woman’s house and she offered us stools to sit on and all the oranges we could eat (and put in our pockets to go). They seemed interested in our family and we talked as best we could with limited mandarin and sign language. It was very fun and a little odd. When we exited the “ancient” village, the women were taking down the sign and leaving. I think the hotel let them know we were coming and they had just set up for us.
We rode back and had lunch at the hotel and a short rest before heading to Yangshuo to explore. Yangshuo was only about fifteen minutes by cab and it is a pretty busy place with lots of hotels and stores. We changed money at the Bank of China and did a little shopping. Jeff bought two flutes on the street and Xinya bought ice cream from a store.
I had read about a very good vegetarian resataurant online so we decided to try to find it. I had the adddress, but they didn’t seem to have house numbers on the buildings and we had to walk down the street until we found it, not knowing if we were getting closer. Luckily it wasn’t too far and it was definitely worth the walk. It was a beautiful place. They took us into a back corner room with low, cushioned seating with a big window that overlooked a picturesque river and bridge. We needed to hurry because we had tickets to the light show so we ordered “easy” dishes that the waitress said they could make quickly. The menu was great because it had pictures of every dish and the waitress spoke english so it was very smooth. I have no idea how they cooked so fast, but the dishes came out fast. They were delicious. It was a shame we had to eat so fast.
The light show was at an amazing location on the river surrounded by mountains. They had what seemed like a cast of hundreds and it was like nothing I’d ever seen before with singers, bamboo boats on the river, lights and in-water props. It was extremely interesting.
It was a very full day and we all fell asleep quickly.