Another early rise for a well earned english breakfast! It has been raining through the night and although quite light this morning it has become worse. The guys have gone rock climbing and we were to explore a cave by the name of Silver Cave but decided against it due to the weather. Yangshuo is a small place - the town can easily be covered on foot. There is an electric minibus network consisting 5 routes covering most parts of town. RMB 1 ( about 15c per ride ).
The main tourist area is laid out roughly like a ladder. The two main tourist streets run more-or-less parallel up from the river to end at one of the town's larger streets. There are assorted smaller streets (rungs) crossing between the two larger streets. The street (ladder vertical) on the left seen from the River is West Street and is the older more established tourist street, the real center of things. The other long tourist street is Diecuilu.
There's a small creek that runs down the center of the "ladder"; some of the prettiest bars and restaurants in town are on balconies near it. The street there is called Guiha Lu. At the "foot of the ladder" by the river is an open area with a large number of vendors hawking all sorts of tourist stuff, both from shops and from handcarts. Also a number of rather nice riverside hotels.
There is quite a bit to do in the town itself. Apart from shipping and haggling prices on the main tourist streets, there are a plethora of backstreets with all sorts of interesting eateries and little shops. There are Chinese tea shops where you can sample ‘ten year’ old tea, or even ’fifteen year’ old tea. It looks very black, but produces a very mild light looking and tasting tea, all served from miniature teapots into miniature teacups. Tai Chi classes are given in The People's Park each morning at 8am.
The People’s Park just opposite the bus station is a great place to observe the locals playing cards, a national pastime so it would seem. There are groups of women sitting around talking whilst doing their knitting, some even walk along the street whilst knitting and chatting.
Oh and beware of the fresh market! Thanks for the warning... There are cages full of dogs waiting for the slaughter. It was quite distressing.
Still early in the day Leah and I are set to go for a stroll and shop whilst there is a short reprieve in the rain then meet the guys for a massage (only $8) for an hour YAY! I was going to the Commorant fishing however have since found out it is all for show and quite cruel when on show for tourists. A rope is tied around the birds neck and pulled to choke it to retrive the fish. The real commorant fishermen do not use these practices.
Back from a lovely relaxing day! The massage was amazing. Scott Leah & I were taxied to the third floor of a quite ramshackle apartment where three ladies awaited. If I could have spoken I would have complained about the massage ladies chatting away and answering the phone, however being that I was in complete heaven I let it go! It was a nice way to set us up for dinner with the group. A private room was organised and we proceeded to have a few drinks and lots of laughs. Upon a decision to retire to Kareoke Dad walked in looking pale saying "My wallets gone".... He had been unknowingly pick pocketed earlier in the night after purchasing a belt. I shot into action, had dad stay put for the police whilst I hurried back to the hotel to cancel his credit cards and advise the insurance company.
Easier said than done. It had not stopped raining and my wlak was uphill about 10 minutes... I decided it was easier to swim (no, no tliterally mum!) I was soaked through but managed to cancel everyhting, sought out the insurance and pritn a repacement ticket within the half hour. Luckily no transactions were made and everything was covered. A rather exciting but anti-climatic ending to the night.