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ASIA & CHINA - THE "KEEP ON SMILING" TOUR

Yangshuo Postcard

YANGSHUO

"JOURNEY TO THE MOON (HILL)"

I had read numerous times, in numerous articles, how the best travellers mingled with the locals. I decided to take them up on their challenge and so here I was, on a boat filled with Chinese tourists, traversing the Li River, making my way from Guilin to Yangshuo, 80 kilometres away.

Yesterday I experienced a free offering of Chinese tea in an authentic Chinese tea house. Today, I was learning to shut out the intricacies of the Chinese language, as the tourist operator’s commentaries occasionally jolted through the loud speaker, shattering the peaceful surrounds of bornhardt rock formations and wallowing water buffalos.

Yes, this was it.

Not understanding a word anyone was saying, I was in my element. As the boat charted along, following the pace of the caravan, into the wilds of the unexplored and untouched, we could all be at peace, until we reached Yangshuo.

Water buffalo on Li River
Boat Li River
Couple taking photo on boat on Li River
Chinese flag on boat on Li River
Mountain scenery on Li River
Mountaoin scenery onLi River

******

Yangshuo, a tourist city famous for its countryside, I had planned my day around getting to some limestone pinnacle with a moon-shaped hole. The limestone pinnacle with a moon-shaped hole was another tourist trap, but they are all generally different and this one was famous for the one-word phrase ‘Later’.

As in ‘Later.’

Crowded tourist street

I took the easy option and instead of walking the 8 km to the base of the limestone pinnacle with a moon-shaped hole, I reached the border gate, paying the painful entrance fee, courtesy of a motorbike taxi. Here I was met by a group of old ladies, eagerly waiting, with coolly bins, filled with coke and water, strapped to their shoulders.

And then I was off.

But having the sense I was been followed, turned to discover, one of the old ladies was following me.

“I will not buy anything from you so you are wasting your time following me” I shouted back.

“Later” came the muted reply.

I began the climb.

Moon Hill

“I will not buy anything from you so you are wasting your time following me” I shouted back.

“Later” came the reply, closer, nearer.

I continued the climb.

“I will not buy anything from you so you are wasting your time following me” I shouted back.

“Later. And why are you shouting I am standing right behind you?”

When we got to the top, she pointed to her village far below, currently shrouded by the midday mist.

Western rock climbers were about, doing their thing – climbing rocks.

I did mine and taking a huge sigh, bought a cake from the old lady as compensation for my company.