Yangshuo is a beautiful place. Due to some special geological happenings, the area is full of sylindrical hills. The fauna is different here and everything is green and feels like summer. The city feels quite small and when we eat and go out, everything is within a radius of 7.4 minutes of walking. After having a decent breakfast together, we went for a boat ride on the river. The location is famous for it's beauty and the backside of the 20 yuan bill displays this area. This explains why everybody is holding up cash when they're taken a picture of. The scenary was amazing and the people on the boats were all laughing and waving. Animals were swimming around us and the drivers were overtaking eachother. One thing that has become slightly annoying though is hooow touristic China is. Cause when we got off the boat in the middle of nowhere, there were stands selling the same souvernir crap as everywhere else. This also happens in a temple on a hill, or on a boat upstream the yangze river. It ruins the moment quite often.
 In the evening Les, dutch Mark and I went for yet another boat ride. This was, however, in the dark with the purpose of watching a fisherman fish with Cormorants, a kind of bird of the family Phalacrocoracidae. The birds have a ring around the neck which prevents them from swallowing the fish they catch. If the fisherman sees that the bird has gotten some fish, he picks it up and shakes the catch out of the bird. At the end of the ride we got to see how much fish they had gotten and we could have one of the birds on our arm while shooting a photo. After the interesting event, we joined forces with the other lads and had some beers. Les and I ended up alone with the manager of a bar and a waitress and they taught us the dice game all the Chinese are playing. Playing this game requires the ability to count to at least ten ( sometimes more ). In noisy areas, like a disco, it can be difficult to hear eachother. That's why we also learned Chinese finger language for one to ten, using only one hand.The manager also beat me 14-1 in connect four, basicly destroying my self esteem since she was a small girl. After some white russians we were finally back at the hotel in the morning.

"Knock, knock, knock!". I got up and opened the door. A slightly angry Milly was outside. 15 minutes ago I should've been outside McDonalds in the center of town. I needed less than two minutes to put on my clothes and brush my teeth. At the rendevouz point the others were pointing and laughing, but I guess some of them were slightly pissed as well. I felt a bit bad, but was able to shake it off me and downed a couple of bottles of water on the way to the bikes. Apparently Les was pretty close to failing too, but managed to wake up 15 minutes earlier. We got some bikes from a local shop and headed out of the town on one of the country roads. We came to a small river and Derek decided to go for a swim. Milly was afraid that he would drown but he calmed her downed with some comforting words: "Take it easy. I'm a great swimmer. I swim at the lodge all the time.". "CRASH". On the way out to the water, the bamboo broke under him and he fell into the water. A perfect youtube moment and everybody was laughing until they ran out of tears. I wished we had that on tape. And we do! Marco taped the whole thing and we can enjoy it over and over again, forever and ever. Envying Derek swimming around in the river, I jumped in as well. Not wanting to bike with wet underpants, I decided to skinny dip. The others were objecting, but I didn't care. When we got out the water, Les said delicatly: "You know you guys had a little brokeback mountain moment there". We laughed and dried ourselvees with t-shirts. Putting them on the bike, wind and sun dried them fast and we could put them back on to maintain our paleness. After passing alot of rice fields and other pretty things we ended up at the main destination point of the trip, moon hill. A hill with a crest shaped hole. Four people climbed up to the top, Les and I being two of them, Jonas and scottish Lucy, spelled completly different in gaelic, were the two others. Some old ladies wanted to sell us water so they followed after us to the top as well. At the very top we had a great view and we took some nice pictures. There was a pole you could climb to get a feeling of beeing even higher up. It was kinda scary, cause it was long enough to make sure you'd fall off the hill if it broke. Luckily it didn't and I got my facebook profile picture. On the way down the women were still waiting for us and wanted to sell us their goods. Lesgot hold of a notebook one of them was carrying with her. It contained many brilliant stories, one of them comes here: "Lovely women! persistance paid off. Didn't want water but her character won me over! Dan London x" , hehe.

In the evening we saw a spectacular show with someting like 600 people involved. They had this massive pool and it was pitch black outside. It was a combination of alot of lights and alot of people with boats, singers, moats and folk dresses. It's hard to describe, but it was one of the coolest shows I've seen on the trip. The next day was really cool. We had signed up for cooking classes and wanted to learn how to make kung pao chicken, sweet & sour pork and dumplings. Three of the best dishes of my life. To kick start the whole event, we went to the market. The market was full of everything strange. From a net, much like the ones we have oranges in in Norway, of living frogs, to eals in buckets with water supply, cats stacked in cages, dogs in bigger cages and flamethrower barbequed dogs on hooks. Trying to take pictures of the dogs made a dude run after us with the flamethrower screaming: "money", so we got a bit scared. After that we went back and woked everything we had bought and it tasted deliciously. I now know the secret ingredient and will impress someone with less skills when I get back home. We got some pictures from the market, but I won't post them. In the evening we took a bumpy dark bus ride to the train station and took the train to my last destination in China: Hong Kong.


2011-10-19 Yangshuo

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