Hello Thursday! We continue with our China trip today, sharing some notes of sights and shops on our bike tour in Yangshuo.
Apart from farmlands and construction, people and homes, there were not many shops on the route. Pictured below one of the smallest souvenir shops we came across, situated on the side of the road amongst older homes and fruit bearing trees, it occupied only a tiny table where a few hats made of straw or fabric were displayed.Further down the road, a much larger one appeared, it stood alone in the open by cultivated fields. It also sold hats but we also witnessed bottled water.
The shop above was not the only one sheltered under brightly colored tents. The tables and chairs below, most notably the Chinese characters on the red banner indicated this to be a restaurant. Just like the other shops pictured here, there was no customers in sight.
Deep into the residential area, by the side of an empty school grounds, a convenience store. It was a small and dark room, we only noticed it because of the group of children playing hide and seek nearby. This little boy hunched over and counted while his friends searched frantically for the perfect hiding spot. Next to him a freezer with a sign in Chinese characters and English, cold watermelon would be so nice on that warm October afternoon, we were sweating profusely from biking and all that excitement.
But what was so special about the freezer was the 4 repeating Chinese characters at the bottom of the sign. It's the character for happiness, pronounced fu in Mandarin.Restaurant, souvenir and convenience stores aside, there was also tire repair shops and boy were they plentiful! The one below sells cold water.
But here's one with no cold water, the white sign with red literature stood out brightly against the brick wall. I like the row of 3 tires on the building. Despite the large amounts of construction that went on, we were lucky our tires remained intact throughout the entire trip.
With the tire hung on the wall this looked like another bike repair shop but the handwritten W.C. indicated otherwise.
Yet another roadside washroom, the Chinese characters that said so were a lot clearer and bigger than its English counterparts. The steps led up to 2 tiny stalls, in white chalk on the left wooden door, it said 1 RMB. There was a few outdoor restrooms just like this along the way, but we did not use them.
We rode along and came to this resting point, we had stopped numerous times along the way, but only briefly to snap a picture or take a sip of water. Here by the cooling river air we stayed the longest, just look at the view, how could you not!! The refreshing mountains in the background that began on the left and...
...continued all the way to the right. A peaceful panorama, one of the most beautiful sights we were fortunate to indulge in.
Some details in the distance, 2 trees in the distance covered in pink flowers, so pretty! They looked like twins, their reflection on the water duplicated the image, doubling the delight.
The camera zoomed in on the far right, groves of bamboo on the horizon against the backdrop of faint hills, I could stay here forever, so romantic.
One of the activities along the river was cruising on bamboo crafts. It came with your personal rower like this man sitting on top of the steps. Moments before, he was seen rowing an elderly couple up and down the river. We would have love to hire him if we were not in such a hurry to get back to town before dark.
We were curious to cross the bridge and explore the other side but there was no time. One last look of the calming water from the bridge before taking off.
Just then, the sound of running steps and children's voices caught our attention, we turned our bikes around and caught a glimpse of this group of boys.
Following them came more kids, this time there were girls but they were the last ones. It was not until we returned to Canada that I noticed the children were wearing red scarves, just like the ones in Chinese propaganda posters. Some of their shoes were plastic sandals, the same footwear on the girl in green pants. I had seen the sandals and scarves in a photo of schoolchildren taken in the 70's, it was a pleasant surprise to see them in our 2007 trip.
Back in town we returned the rented bikes and ate dinner at KFC before taking the bus back to Guilin. That was the second and last time we dined at a Western fast food joint during the entire China trip. Searching for food was a challenge, at times we opted for the more familiar menu. That night, we slept soundly and rose early the next day as we explored a new destination, stay tuned next week!
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It has been over 3 years since we were in Yangshuo but I think back to this bike trip quite often. The memories of the village and the people we saw stayed in my heart, my most cherished photo is the last one posted here. What can I say, children will always be children, so young and carefree, which sums up exactly how we felt when we were touring China. I treasure the experience and memories and am truly grateful to the fellow visitors that suggested the biking idea.