More WuHa, WaHu and WooHoo!

Love Ones, the great expedition continues and I have only lost my VISA once (retrieved thank goodness). Doesn’t really matter as the bloody thing is useless here anyway.

As I continue on my journey I realize how impossible this would have been if not for my dear pals in Shanghai. I left Vancouver knowing that I had two weeks to get from Shanghai to Xining – no itinerary other than some general ideas that were mired in confusion because of the vast distances. Thanks to some sage advice from Toby and Deege (who have toured the country extensively) as well as handsome Jack who made my plane bookings (for a fraction of the cost if I had booked in Vancouver) I have managed to see incredible places I never knew existed. One such place is Yangshou.


787px-yangshuofromtvtower.jpgForeigners love it here because the area offers so much to do. There is an avid caving and rock climbing community (with over 300 bolted routes) as well as hiking, mountain biking, rafting and hot air ballooning. The place is crawling with foreigners who affectionately refer to it as “Yangers” and English is spoken widely. The only drawback to this divine place is the town, where ‘enthusiastic’ tourist touts descend upon you like a plague of locusts offering postcards and junk. The Yangshou Mountain Retreat where I stayed was a real find. It is owned by an American, which explains the soft beds, aircon, courteous and helpful staff, lovely rustic aesthetic and availability of wine with dinner and milk for my tea. It is 15 minutes out of town nestled on the bank of the Yulong river and I felt truly relaxed for the first time since leaving Shanghai. I changed my plans in order to stay an extra couple of days. It deluged rain but not even a monsoon can dampen the spirits of the Chines tourist.

002_640_x_480.jpgThis is the view from the hotel.


I stayed longer in order to do the hot air balloon ride over the spectacular scenery of the Li River region. It didn’t happen. BooHoo!


063_640_x_480.jpgInstead I met the owner of these feet……

…..and we went for a four hour adventure walk along the banks of the river. We were dumped by a taxi many miles upstream and were told just to follow the river back and that is exactly what we did.


132_640_x_480.jpg

112_640_x_480.jpg

116_640_x_480.jpg

Traveling conditions.


My clothes are filthy. I have not been in one hotel long enough to get laundry done;  while I was 3 nights at the Mountain Retreat, Angel at the front desk explained that it was too humid for my stuff to dry. I myself am perfectly clean – showering about 5 times a day!


The Food


The food is awesome – sometimes. In Shanghai we went for hotpot – twice!. 6 of us sat around a square table with a double sided pot sunk into the center, bubbling spicy, oily broth on one side, plain broth on the other, loaded with tons of whole garlic cloves, ginger slices, huge round nuts, bark and god knows what for added flavor.

china-044_640_x_480.jpgToby loves me.

And I love TOBY!

beer.jpgMy first meal in ‘no English spoken’ Jiuhua I walked in to a restaurant, looked around for something that looked tasty and pointed. It turned out to be 3 different types of mushrooms and slices of a potato like root vegetable shaped like ginger with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Sublime! Dinner did not go as well. Keep in mind these are eateries with arborite tables and bare fluorescent light bulbs. The pick and point method resulted in 3 mouthfuls and a hasty retreat back to the first place where I had the excellent mushroom dish. I ordered what I thought would be soup – what I got was broth! Dinner that night was two large bottles of Tsingtao and a bowl of broth.


I woke up hungry so decided to avail myself of the complimentary brekkie at the “4 star” hotel where I was staying at Mt J. – fried eggs swimming in a sea of grease, sweet, starchy cakes and donutty things, cubes of tofu in a fiery red sauce and an assortment of soggy vegetables – cabbage for breakfast? No thanks! I had to dash to the bus – lunch was peanuts that I stole from the hotel and at the airport I was so short of cash I didn’t dare eat…..

044_640_x_480.jpgYou will be happy to know I have passed on offers to taste the snake wine!

Serendipity


The very first night after leaving Shanghai I managed to find Mr Cheng. I had read about Mr Cheng on tripadvisor when I booked my first night’s accommodation. I noticed his sign as I was heading back to the hotel from the mountain, so I tapped the bus driver on the shoulder and he came to a screeching halt – love that! – I knew I was leaving the next day but had NO IDEA WHERE I WAS GOING! – Xidi or Jiuhuashan? Mr Cheng helped me out bigtime! “Xidi” he said “too commercial”. He booked me a hotel on Mt J, purchased me a bus ticket for 6 am the next morning, arranged for the bus to pick me up from his restaurant, came at 5:30 to help me with my luggage and wrote instructions in Chinese for me to use at the bus station to get my ticket on to Guilin the following day. I thanked him and told him he would be famous one day. He beamed and said proudly, “I’m already famous”. I offered to pay him for his help but he refused. He said he helped travelers because it brought customers to his restaurant…but I think he also liked being famous. Mrs Cheng’s cooking was excellent.

china-081_640_x_480.jpg

More serendipity I discovered that the Yangshou mountain Retreat is a mere one hour drive from the Guilin airport. If I had known that in advance I would have avoided a night at the one star “4star” hotel in Guilin and the wet trip down the Li river BUT then I would never have met Hefa…….
135_640_x_480.jpgWhen I woke up to monsoon rains I regretted my decision to stay an extra day in Yangshou but then I would never have met Peter.


My spirits I vacillate from complete euphoria and the  tingling anxiety of uncertainty when I have to move on.  Am I actually on the right bus? Will I make my connection? Will I get off at the right stop? Do I have enough cash? I am enjoying traveling alone. It is weird and a hard slog at times and I am sure not everyone’s “cup of tea” but alone, I am only responsible for my own happiness.

It is time to move on again – now to the ancient capital of Xian.


140_640_x_480.jpgGOODBYE BOYS

064_640_x_480.jpgGOODBYE BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAIN RETREAT




WuHu!

8 Responses

  1. Darlene Hayne Says:

    Peg – I’m so thrilled to be reading these posts about your adventure. So proud of you! The scenery looks beautiful and you are certainly having some exciting experiences. Keep on posting! Can’t wait to hear more stories in person. Have fun and take lots more pictures.

    - Darlene

  2. Gray Amphlett Says:

    Wow, Peg, what an adventure, beaut photos,amazing mountain scenes,neat people to help you on the way. Cheers, Gray & Ibi.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    this is an amzing trip…changes my mind about China but I doubt I’d go it alone ..woo hooo

  4. Victoria Rogers Says:

    Hi Peg,
    Is this for real? Are you really going solo in China or is this a fantasy? Love the photos and commentary. Thanks for the escape to WhHu.
    Victoria Rogers

  5. To The Max Says:

    Okay, there is a book in all of this. The photos add a great dimension, Peg. Not to mention all the eye candy you are finding along the way! Keep it up.
    Xoxo Nancy

  6. Yvonne Drinovz Says:

    I am loving your adventures Peg!
    Here, while I am at my office, it is truly an escape of beauty!
    Kudos to you…yvonne

  7. virgiinia Says:

    I get to travel with you in my chair, wonderful, awesome scenery. amazing adventure. Thank you.

  8. Pete Says:

    When an expat Aussie you’ve known for 2 minutes bangs on your hotel door in China, says there’s taxi waiting and adventure afoot – you just go. Thanks for an incredible chapter. I think you must be to Tibet by now… Post!

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment's to this blog remain private. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Recent Comments

  • [...] I was curious about the influences Kathy Venter cited,... on The Dreaming
  • My sweet Paki Sahili - what an amazing experience we shared!... on Mother India
  • Peg, finally got to read the blog...it brought back all the ... on Mother India
  • I want to say how much I enjoyed "Goat Givers and Other Lov... on Mother India
  • Peg You are an amazing women! To be apart of this incred... on Mother India
  • Hi Peg, Kim and I just returned from Rajasthan last night. ... on Mother India
  • Peg, I have held off reading this until I had the time to s... on Mother India
  • Peg.....Oh my gosh....loved it. amazing, fantastic...can't w... on Mother India
  • Peg ,my dear friend: You are a trouper. I know all the peop... on Mother India
  • Peggy: Looks intense and fascinating!... on Mother India