Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Photo Series EXTREME Yangshuo biking adventure

The last day of our trip we woke up in Yangshuo to freezing drizzle. Not to be discouraged from our initial plan (wrong reaction - maybe) we borrowed ankle-length ponchos from Wei at Yangshuo Culture House, rented pink bikes (the only option, I swear we didn't ask for them specifically - but we did love them), and set out in search of a Qing dynasty village 10k away.

FOUR freezing hours later of serious mud/mountain biking on ill-equipped cruisers, wet from head to toe despite the ponchos, we arrived at the tiny huddle of houses and 30-foot wall that we were searching for. We forgot that the Qing dynasty lasted as late as 1911, so this place really wasn't all that old/amazing.

At the time we were not enjoying ourselves, and the village was not really worth braving the elements, but if it had been sunny this would have been an incredible use of a morning. Biking along the rice paddies/between the mountains and passing through tiny villages (our prof tells us those are 4th-tier - I cannot imagine the life in a lower-tier town) of people that curiously look twice at the foreigners was a view of China that we definitely would not have had otherwise. I don't think a bus or private car would have given us the same perspective.

Being afraid of the dark I do think biking through the countryside was more fun than visiting the mudbath caves, but maybe the rain was enough reason to switch plans. The only thing I'm disappointed we missed because of limited time was the full-day trips to surrounding ethnic minority villages. Definitely spend more than 2 half-days in Yangshuo!

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