Noilly Prattle: China 2017: 21 – Yangshuo; getting oriented

Saturday, July 22, 2017

China 2017: 21 – Yangshuo; getting oriented

     Finding your way around in a new place, especially if you are staying for a couple weeks, is the first order of business. These are the necessary activities of finding the market, local transportation, restaurants, things to do, etc. Well rested after a good night's sleep, energized with a couple cups of strong coffee, we set out to explore Yangshuo. Naturally, we were hungry . . .

rear window
       There was a restaurant just around the corner from the Nana Hotel that offered western-style breakfasts. The place was empty but a woman said she would fix us some breakfasts. It took quite a while to get the food but it was good enough. While waiting, a young couple in wedding clothes were posing for a photo op outside the window—glamorous photo shoots are a popular activity in China as we noticed last year in Dali, Li Jiang, Shuhe in Yunnan Province.

Yangshuo nestled in its karst mountains

     The town of Yangshuo itself is compact, nestled in its karst limestone mountain peaks, walkable and charming. . . and a popular tourist destination for Chinese and other visitors

Senior Citizens Center? 

Video: Senior Songfest in the Park

          There is a large public park in easy walking distance. These parks seem to function as senior citizens centers everywhere in China. They are full of elderly people doing different things to entertain themselves: some just sitting and walking around, other playing different kinds of games and apparently gambling, one group was engaged in playing some traditional instruments and singing traditional (I assume) songs; people seemed to join in or walk out as the spirit moved.

monument - Resistance
 to WWII occupation

In search of Moon Hill

West Street - the main tourist drag
walking in the rain
       It had started to rain so we stopped by the hotel and asked to borrow a couple of umbrellas and then went exploring farther afield from the West Street central tourist area. There is a karst mountain peak formation known as Moon Hill a few kilometers south of town that we wanted to see. We decided to check out the location of a local bus to get there but were as yet unfamiliar with the public transportation system. Our guidebook said there was a bus terminal where you could take a bus (#2) to Moon Hill. After a couple kilometers walking along in a busy decidedly unscenic part of town there was no sign of a “bus terminal”.

 over shot the "South Terminal" -
far background on left center of the photo
       We came to a major crossroads and walked into a nearby hotel and asked the desk clerk where the bus terminal was located. She pointed us in the same southerly direction we had been walking. Shrugging our shoulders we continued south, saw nothing resembling a “bus Station” but stopped at a muddy spot from where we could see a few buses that appeared to be stopped back in the direction from which he had just come and had overlooked. It looked something like a bus congregation point—hard to call it a “terminal”, but we decided to backtrack and check it out. There it was, the “bus terminal”! You can change buses there to go to Moon Hill. It also turned out that you don't have to walk that far, you can take another bus (#5) in town to the “South Bus Terminal” and change buses there for the #2 to go to Moon Hill. We had sore feet, but learned a lot in one day. In any new town, the first couple days are the hardest.

the #2 bus to Moon Hill

Drinks and Dinner

       All this walking and mind bending confusion called for a drink. Picked up a bottle of wine from the market and borrowed a corkscrew and some wine glasses from the mini hotel bar. Before going up to our room we asked the desk clerk about renting bicycles and taking a bamboo boat trip on the Yulong River, a tributary of the Li Jiang. The hotel clerk said they would be happy to arrange them. Had a couple glasses of wine in our room before going out to eat at a Chinese style “food court”--a very busy and noisy place with great ambiance and spicy lamb kebabs. 

spicy lamb kebab

food court

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