China 2019 – Day 25, Sunday, 11th August
Today was my last opportunity for some sightseeing here in China and myself and another student at the tai chi school, took a taxi and bus up to a town about an hour and a half north of here.
We set off from there preparing to hike 15km down to a town called Xingping – we’d seen mixed reports of the route being inaccessible online but figured what the hell, we’d go for it. I am, after all, very experienced at walking and getting lost in the middle of nowhere in China!
The route included three river crossings (via raft as there are no bridges) and we managed the first one no problem but after we had hiked to the second one and waited an hour, trying in vain to flag down a passing raft, we gave up and walked back to our starting point! It seems that the route is indeed closed!
Enveloped in such jaw dropping scenery meant that it wasn’t a chore walking back an hour – and we decided to get a raft to take us to a dock about 9km downstream and walk the rest.
Now being the middle of the day meant that the Chinese tourists were up and out in full force and we had to queue for a while in baking heat (36 degrees) and no shade, I gave in and bought a fan, not for doing tai chi with for once, but just to feel a slight breeze!
Rafting is big business and a very well run and efficient operation here, so the queue went down quite quickly and we were soon on our raft.
The scenery – as you can see below and on Facebook – is stunning, I don’t need to put it into words – and I wouldn’t do it justice if I did, look at the pictures!
You can see why the area has inspired artists and poets throughout the centuries (as well as featuring on the 20 yuan note).
After about an hour we docked and walked the next 6km into Xingping – 5 of which were on a lovely path by the river, the last one being by a not so lovely road but I did manage to cool down and rehydrate with some watermelon.
Xingping is a nice small town but there were quite a lot of tourists, tired legs, and the heat of the afternoon meant that we just had a drink and did a little bit of present shopping before getting onto a (thankfully) air conditioned bus.
Back in Yangshuo we took a taxi back to Jima Village and I was very pleased to manage a 15 minute conversation in Mandarin – which very amusingly started at the ‘where are you from?’, ‘how long are you here?’ kind of level and quickly escalated to ‘tell l me about economic development in your country!’ – which probably isn’t a conversation I could even have in English with any authority. We then got onto cars, which again, I know nothing about – so it was quite entertaining and I think I managed to give a good account for myself.
So at the moment after dinner I am sitting with my feet up with the good angel on one shoulder saying tai chi practice, and the demon on the other shoulder whispering seductively “cold beer”…
Luckily, I have to walk across the practice area to get to the cafe – so it’s a run through of my new forms, then a well deserved cold beer to finish off the day.