Hello Thursday! I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner, the year is coming to an end but there is still time to... escape to China!
In last week's episode we had no luck finding the Mini Mao Cafe and headed back to Guilin. But stories of awesome Yangshuo bike trips haunted us so we decided to return the very next day and experience it! After a 25 minute walk from our hotel, we arrived at the Chief Bus Station on No. 427 Zhongshan Road, click here for more bus info, scroll down after the bus schedules. Tickets for express route cost 14 RMB each ($2 Canadian), the journey took about 70 minutes.
Arriving in Yangshuo, we found a bike shop just outside of the downtown area. Each rental bike cost 15 RMB plus 200 RMB refundable deposit, it came with a basket for storage and a lock, which the staff recommended using should we stop to explore areas of interest. The neighborhood is safe but some bikes were reported missing as locals stole them for scrap metal. In general there are pedlars and the occasional flat tire which customers repair at their own cost, 4 to 5 RMB per tire at one of the roadside mending shops. They suggested Moon Hill where lots of tourists frequent but we preferred a quieter passage so they directed us towards the farm lands.
Off we rode through the car traffic and turned into a smaller but quieter road pictured below. The distant view of newly developed low-rises, they all seemed to be 7 stories high, is this what is to come for Yangshuo?A closer view of the construction scaffolding for one of the buildings, no workers were in sight, perhaps they were all on lunch break.
Our first sight of a farm house. It was located at the foot of the towering cliff, a lonely bike parked at the front, there did not seem to be any windows nor did it appear to be occupied.
Across the street a small wood and brick hut that looked like an outhouse, through the trees a peek at some of the cultivated land with the distant hills.
Further down the road, vegetables grew in neat rows while 2 brown watering buckets sat in the dirt. The water pond reflected the beautiful surroundings of fading mountains, what a sight! Can you imagine living and working here?
Just steps away, a group of ducks descended into a shallow pond and swam in a line, I don't recall ever seeing them paddle like this before.
Nearby a tiny cabin made with bricks of 2 different shades, its roof an uneven structure. By the door on the left a lonely hen clucked away as she picked at something on the ground.
The cabin is part of a group of dwellings, from this view we can see the various size building stones. Check out the one on the left, regular blocks and natural rocks on the same wall, it's amazing! I love the texture and the shades of earth tones.
We turned around and caught sight of this shack, its roof was covered with a piece of rubber membrane weighed down by planks of wood and some grass. It seemed too unstable to explore inside, judging by the hay on the ground it must be for the animals.
Just outside a pile of roof tiles placed neatly in a circular compact, I counted 6 layers, could these be its new replacement?
Pictured below a small home also made of bricks, by now we realized it is a common building material around here. The blocks were laid in different directions creating a fascinating pattern for the walls, a nice contrast to the neighboring shed. Laundry sun dried in a line outside the window, a bike stood awaiting its passenger, 2 hens explored the pile of grey dirt by the door.
Under the lazy afternoon sun, a dog sat napping by a well, it was equipped with a man powered water pump. Only a few meters into the bike route we had spotted all kinds of fascinating settings, it was a delightful start!
We continued on slowly, the path that was paved now led to a smaller dirt road. The houses in the distance drew us near.
What peaked our curiosity was this pair of buffalos, the farmer said they were mother and child, aged 4 and 1 year old. I was very excited, this was the closest I have ever been to a water buffalo!
Following 2 gossiping ladies, the farmer took the pair down the path, they seemed pretty tame persuaded only with a light tapping from a small stick.
He turned a corner and guided the buffalos onto a field with green grass, their leash was tied into a stake which he then drove into the ground. The farmer told us he has been on this farm for over 60 years and offered to show us around, we declined and left to explore on our own.
As we passed by more meadows, other peasants were also leading their buffalos to graze. Close by stacks of grain stalks arranged in round heaps, they reminded me of little African huts.
Onwards we ride down the path into the village homes, join us next week as we reveal what we find!