Arriving into Yangshuo was such a breath of fresh air. Beijing, Shanghai and Xian were all giant cities, full of millions of citizens and blanketed in pollution. This small town of a few thousand inhabitants had blue skies and astonishing limestone surroundings. Our hotel was modest and right near the riverbed, just a short walk away from the famous West Street, full of market stalls, restaurants and bars. It was truly a Chinese paradise and it was a shame I would only be here for three days.
Jade asked us to pick which activities we would like to do. All of us did the bike/bamboo ride that I mentioned in the previous blog. The majority of us also attended the night fishing event. We walked down some stairs from the street into darkness where a soft purring motorboat awaited us. It left it’s place in the harbour at a slow pace with no light on, on a mission to find a fisherman’s boat. It appeared from the shadows with a shinning torch at the front. The fisherman was at the back, pushing it forward with a long paddle through the black water, following his birds. There were about five in total, taking turns diving under the water. Every so often, one would breach the surface with a fish in its beak and try to swallow its prize but the fisherman would quickly grab it by the neck and make it regurgitate the fish into his basket. After the night of fishing, both boats pulled ashore and we had a chance to pose with the birds.
Earlier that morning Rob, Gina and myself went to a Tai Chi class with Master Yung. I have had a fascination with ying and yang and the power of chi since my younger days watching my favourite anime series, Dragonball Z, where fighters could focus and channel their chi. I loved it when some character such as Krillen would say, “oh man! I sense a very powerful chi!”. Master Yung took us to a secluded part of a peaceful park where he taught us the first ten steps of Tai Chi. Teenagers watched on from the side and were most likely amused as these foreigners made fools of themselves. There are over two hundred steps but most Chinese only know twenty. He was from the blood line who perfected Tai Chi and he had great sayings like “you must be like the water” and taught us a couple of self defense moves.
In the night we went to a funky restaurant where we played Connect 4 and Jenga on our table. We had an eccentric waitress called YoYo who chatted with us and let us control the music. She invited us on a night out but I laughed when Gina said, “I can’t be arsed with YoYo”.
On the final morning we went to a place called Lucy’s and I ordered the Lucy Breakfast special that consisted of Eggs, Bacon, Toast and BANANA PANCAKE! This was my Vietnam, man.