Dave's Travel Journal

A vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking. - Earl Wilson


Bike Ride

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There are 1.2 billion people in China. Every one of them must have a bicycle, maybe two. I saw a lot of bikes. In Yangshuo there are many three wheeled bicycles with flatbeds on the back for carrying dirt, rocks, paneling, fruit, and friends. You name it. Some of the handlebars have a second bar wielded about six inches above the main bar. This gives the rider a second, more comfortable, upright riding position.

It cost us 20 yuan ($2.50) to rent a mountain bike for an entire day. We rode about 10 miles through the farmlands of Yangshuo. The weather was overcast, ideal for biking. We also "rented" an all day tour guide for $6. (I paid as much for my Blue Mountain coffee at breakfast!) Angie is an English major and helped us with our Chinese too. She was great. After the ride she took us to a restaurant who's specialty is beer fish. Of course, it went well with the local cold beer. Or was it the local beer that went well with the fish? I can't be certain.

Yangshuo is geared to the backpacker although we saw many other weiguoren there. The shops that stretch throughout the town are packed with all kinds of hiking gear including North Face jackets for about 180 yuan. I bought Ruth a waterproof Columbia jacket with full zip out lining for about $20. The jacket would sell for about $200 in the U.S.

We saw some cliff hangers on our ride. We all looked up at these people hanging from the virtical face. I said to Angie our tour guide: "weiguoren shi shenjingbing!" (Foreigners are crazy!) She covered her mouth in laughter either at the weiguoren or at my Chinese. But she did agree: "Dui, dui."

As we rode along the country roads little old ladies came out selling flowers, postcards, maps, and various trinkets. We stopped to take a picture and the girls bought some flowers to wear on their heads for 2 yuan (25 cents). Ruth later told me one of the old woman opened a notebook with a few quarters taped inside and a note some meiguoren (American) had written for her that said: "I'm collecting U.S. coins. Do you have any you can give me?" Clever. These ladies were just a step above begging. They all wore sad faces and wouldn't go away even after you said: "Wo buyao" (I don't need).

We met a little old lady of 83 standing outside her home. She was so friendly. Lynn talked with her a bit telling her how much we were enjoying her backyard. The lady smiled and said it was her land that makes her live so long. Maybe!

After four hours of bumpy roads I couldn't find anyplace to sit that wasn't sore. Must be the bike.

We did a short walk around town with the intention of resting in the room before going out again for dinner. I laid down at 6:00 p.m. and didn't get up until 6:00 a.m. It must be the Yangshuo air.

Ruth said she went out for dinner alone.

...dave
A bad worker quarrels with his tools. -Chinese proverb
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