Saturday, August 05, 2006

Yangshuo and onwards

I grabbed a room near the bus-stop. Yangshuo is only an hour or so ride from Guilin. The next day I went on a bike-tour, it was a scorcher. I even bought one of these big Chinese hats to stop my brain from cooking. The guide led me down a few narrow lanes and she was right I would have got lost if I went myself! It was pleasant if too hot to ride through this strange scenery. Up ahead was Moon Hill a bizarre structure where a circular hole appears in the peak. Nearby was Buddha Water Cave and I went inside for a look. Also a couple of small dogs came along to be nosy. A guide showed us round the interior. Stalactites, malacites and all things strange! Time had shaped the cave walls into weird shapes, like a curtain of rock. I tried to take some pictures but it was dark and couldn抰 see much on the screen, later I realised I still had the camera lens cover on. Doh!

A professional photographer was lurking in the caves popping up to snap us now and again. An annoying little boy proclaimed to his mother that he was going to be famous, everybody loved him as he kept getting his photograph taken. His mum had to explain that the photographer was going to try and sell them the pictures later.

Afterwards a bit more of ride around and then back, too hot! Time for some ice-cream. At dinner I headed off to a caf?and had some nice duck. Not very exotic compared to the other things at the back of the menu but nice. If you were feeling adventurous you could buy a snake. 揚lay with it, photograph it, watch it being killed. Eat the flesh, drink the blood and keep the skin!?Hmmm. Think I抣l stick with the duck.

Now I had a lot of travelling ahead. But I just went slow 慶os I抦 lazy. Back to Guilin and then down to Nanning, before hopping on the sleeper train to Kunming. Bit of confusion regarding the ticket. The ticket man said 搉o have?and so I said how about the day after tomorrow and then some confused occurred eventually I ended up with a ticket for tomorrow, strange I thought. I just had a seat instead of a bed for the 14 hour ride, groan. Anyway eventually into Kunming and fall asleep there! The next day I had a look about, another big modern city. I tried to goto the temple I came across a ticket barrier was quite sure what it was (temple or park or both?), I ended up in the zoo as it happens. Lots of peacocks here, no pandas (except for the cuddly stuffed variety). Apparently it was one of the top ten zoos in China, and it was less than impressive. Animals like leopards in tiny cages. Onto the 1000 year old Yuantong temple. Lots of smoke and incense here, also seemed to be handed out some food which was very popular! Don抰 know if this is a daily occurrence or not. Kunming is famous for across the bridge noodles, where you get a few plates of raw food, the noodles and a boiling hot broth. When the broth arrives you throw in the egg, ham, bacon, chicken bits, green veg, pickle and noodles, give it a stir and eat. Quite tasty actually! Next stop Dali.

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