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.


3 thoughts on “Day 25 – Hiking and Rafting

  1. It really is stunning there Mark! Really fabulous photos again! Thanks for posting.

    My question is……….were you born with a larger reserve of spare energy than most people do you think…..? – or is it that all the years practising Tai Chi and Qigong have helped you be able to train, and train and train (and in extreme heat and humidity at that!!) – and still go out for bike rides, hikes, runs and amazing adventures on the water in your down time – when many of the rest of us would have fallen by the wayside a long, long time ago!!?
    Any tips for those of us who foolishly burnt out from overwork and stressful living at a youngish age, and feel as though we have already spent the reserves that were meant to last us a lifetime….?

    1. Hi Lynne,
      Thank you!

      Good question, I don’t know – I’m just not too good at sitting down for long and if there’s training to go and do, or something like a hike to do, I’ll do it.

      As for advice, I think everyone is different and what works for me won’t work for other people but generally conserve energy when you can (sleep, meditation), do healthy practices (qigong, tai chi), find the right diet that works for you (this one can take a while, there’s so much conflicting information out there!), potentially get your hormone profile checked (do you have the right balance), add a little bit of fitness and strength training to your routine, reduce stress or learn how to cope with it better, don’t overthink things, look after your kidneys, set small goals – achieve them, enjoy the dopamine rush – move on to new goals, don’t worry too much.

      Lots you can potentially do (have shiatsu!)…

      1. Hi Mark. Thanks so much for your comments on this! Lots to think about -(not in an over-thinking way or anything!!!)
        Hope you are having a brilliant last few days there!

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