I know I said I would write this yesterday, but I had a rough day yesterday so this had to wait till today. I had to have a health examination done yesterday and I passed out when they were taking my blood, and I felt like shit all day. On the bright side I had my first fantastic sleep last night since I've been here. Okay, on to Yanshou.
Yanshou is a place Denise and Keinan had heard about and decided we should go, and at this point I'm just trusting that they know what they're doing because we've seen some pretty cool things so far. The buses to Yanshou from Guilin are hilarious. It seems like the buses are independently owned, because you pull up to the bus station and a woman walks right up to us and asks "Yanshou?" We say yes and she beckons us to follow here. We walk for a few minutes and then she leads us straight onto a bus, points to our seats and tells us to sit down. She comes back about five minutes later and asks us for the money, which is 20 yuan each (so 4 bucks each for a 90 minute bus ride). She then tells the driver five minutes later to leave, and she hops on the bus. We then proceed to make five or six stops through town where she is just yelling out the window at people on the side of the road with luggage whether they are going to Yanshou or not. We actually do stop and pick up eight more people from these various stops, so kind of a weird set up. So we take the bus to Yanshou and then we proceed to get dropped off at a fairly weird spot. Basically we just got dropped on the side of the road. Eric had told us that cabs aren't totally frequent in Yanshou but if someone offers us a ride for no more than 20 Yuan, we should take it. We wait about five minutes and no cab, but a guy in a van pulls up and asks if we need a ride. Eric had sent Keinan our hotel address in Chinese, and Keinan shows it to the guy. He says 20 Yuan, and we hop in. Definitely not a taxi, but he takes us right to the front door of our hotel, and he spoke a little English so Denise had a chat with the guy (we almost always let Denise take the front. Keinan does if he has to give the phone or multiple directions. I think I have yet to sit in the front when it's been the three of us).
We get to the hotel and it's beautiful again. We are all in separate rooms this time, so we each have a shower and meet half an hour later. Denise and Keinan had talked about how there was a street where all the foreigners go so we figured we would wander over there. Well this place was amazing. It reminded me a bit of Whistler village, except narrower streets, and way way way cooler shops. Tons of bars, hostels, restaurants and places to buy cool souvenirs. Definitely made for tourists. We go into a place called the "Bad Panda, rooftop bar and hostel." In there we meet to British guys, William and Damien. They've been in China for two years, one year running the bar. The hostel is more or less one dungy room, and they don't charge for it usually, because more often than not it's the place they "can toss the drunks that can't remember where they're actually staying." Two great guys, very personable people. We stayed for a drink and then went for dinner at a place that had both chinese and more western dishes. I had a hamburger that tasted so damn amazing. I enjoy the food here, but each time I have pizza, or burgers or even McDonalds, it's actually a nice delight. Peanut Butter is actually fairly easy to find too, so I have peanut butter and jam in my apartment. The only problem I have with the food here is that despite the fact you have rice or noodles at every meal, every meal feels heavy. So having that change up is pretty nice.
Denise is still battling with sleeping properly so she went back to the hotel after dinner while Keinan and I continued to wander (It was about 9:30pm at this point.) We wandered through all the shops and Keinan bought a few things for his kids and I only bought one thing and it was actually a present for Denise. We had been joking earlier about getting posters of Mao and starting dictator hall of fames, and Keinan and I are walking past an artist that does pictures on t-shirts and I bought this great one for Denise of Osama Bin Laden. (I'm thinking next time we go, I'm getting one for myself too.) Keinan and I went and grabbed a drink which cost us ten and twelve bucks each. We were wondering what were getting as he ordered a drink with rum and I ordered vodka. The waitress literally just brought us each a glass filled with rum and vodka with ice. We did get good bang for our buck as there were at least three or four shots in this glass but man that is tough drinking straight like that. Takes me back to Grad kidnapping ;)
Keinan and I went to bed after that. The next morning we took a bamboo boat ride down the nearby river into Fullytown. It's a neat little village that we wandered through. There was a tourist market but we didn't find it till we'd wandered for just about two hours and by then, we were all too tired to walk through it. The amazing thing was, we got to see some really amazing stuff. People in their houses with all the doors and windows open, and this is a pretty poor looking village. The one major difference was we saw tons of Mao stuff hanging in people's houses. I haven't seen as much in the cities but there was lots in this place. The other thing was, even though it's not a huge tourist attraction, there were a ton of people selling artwork out of their houses. I bought a book of quotes by Mao, and Denise and I both bought fans that had artwork of Mao on them. Cost me 35 Yuan total. (Two great buys imho). After that, we took a bus back to Guilin. Keinan wanted to hang out till 4:30 and catch the last bus back to Liuzhou (a three hour ride) but Denise and I both wanted to be home earlier so we left Keinan in Yanshou and headed back. We went to the bus station but they only had buses to Liuzhou at certain times there, and the other times were at the other station, which we had no idea where it was. Denise and I started wandering and then after about 20 minutes we saw a bus on the side of the road and a woman saying "Guilin?" So we paid 20 Yuan and headed back to Guilin and caught the bullet train from there to Liuzhou and then got home. We were home by about 6pm, Keinan got home around 10pm so we were quite happy we left early. Yanshou has some great scenery, and we've all decided we're doing at least two more trips to Yanshou so I will have pictures of it next time. Such a great place though and another amazing weekend. If anyone decides to visit, I have some pretty sweet places to show you.
Till next time