We are freezing out here in Yangshuo- but it's so awesome...
I wish I could spend more time here. It's been easier than I thought to do things out here-
at the moments when nobody speaks english, and both of you are staring at each other blankly, someone steps in out of the blue who can help- somehow we've gotten from the airport to the hostel, mailed out another parcel to the US, rode the subway and booked bus tickets, no problem.
So, we landed first in Guangzhou, which is in south east mainland China, near Hong Kong.
The signs were hilarious- I wish I was downloading photos, because I took some pictures-
Like I said, it was pretty easy to find our hostel from the airport via bus, subway, and foot- although we walked this way and that trying to find the exact location after someone had written the wrong chinese character name for our hotel after going back and forth for about an hour- it took us a little while to figure it out!
Next we took an overnight bus to Guilin, which was a big city, although there were a few fun tourist sights to look at, like Solitary Peak and Reed Flute Cave. I bought a glow-in-the-dark rock for 10 yuan, and we saw the babies wearing the booty-less onsies! (Yeah, the babies here wear pants with no booty! Some of them wear diapers underneath, and some just let it all hang out! Cute little baby booties everywhere! We're not really sure how it works out when nature calls at random hours, although we did see a mom posted up in the park holding her baby in a convenient position so she didn't have to change any diaper...!)
We worked out at a playground with fun workout equipment that was just like an eliptical, stairmaster, and a new one that went sideways and worked shoulder stabilizers, triceps and oblique abdominals.
We saw the show, "Dreamlike Lijiang" last night, with Chinese acrobats and ballet dancers. It was really good- Roots of Cirque du Soleil.
Today we took the boat ride down the Li River to Yangshuo, the backpacker's paradise, nutella pancakes and all. We rented bicycles and found a Tai Chi school down the road from the town and took a class- great class! We learned a basic form. On the way home we picked some kumquats from a tree- so delicious! I could stay here for weeks.
There's mountain biking, and rock climbing... Tomorrow morning I'm doing a half day rock climb- Yangshuo is up and coming, just now appearing on the international rock climbing circuit. The karst mountain faces are perfect- wall faces rising straight up from the ground, it's unreal.
This is the landscape that I came to China for- imagine Chinese landscape faces of misty mountain-tops and winding rivers... The only problem is that this winter there has been a drought, with no rains to wash away the combined mix of pollution and haze that drapes over everything and drabs it out. You'll see (or rather, you won't!) when I finally post some pics.
Not to mention the DRAGON BEARD CANDY that I finally found- mmmmmmm! So delicious! It's like pulled strings of candy wrapped around a peanut and sesame seed filling.
On the whole, China has been much nicer than I imagined, and much easier. I'm almost regretting my decision to go with a tour in Feb- I do like my independence- but I suppose it will be easier to let someone else do the planning for a while- I start the tour on Feb 8th, and it ends Feb 28, so it's not even a tour for that long. This is a lesson in patience- and taking one thing at a time.
They say that when one is traveling you learn as much about yourself as you do about the rest of the world. I must learn that there is time to do everything, no need for anxiety. All good things in time. Haste makes waste. A stich in time saves nine. If I could save time in a bottle...! Time is another dimension, after all, and if you step back and take it all in, a lifetime is a long time... So anyways, I gotta go! It's time for bed!
Signing off, until next time!
PS. I wish I could be in the states for Tuesday Jan 20th, 2009!!!!
I am so excited, the whole world is anticipating it- even though we can't expect miracles immediately (well, shoot, let's expect them anyways! and let's make them happen!) everybody knows it's a change for the better.
I'll be watching it on TV wherever I am!!! Enjoy! Celebrate! I'll be back in March!