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Yangshuo, China

CHINA | Wednesday, 27 May 2009 | Views [544]

The same widget that cruelly counted down so slowly to my departure date is still ticking over on the mac and it now tells me that I’ve been on the road for ten days and fourteen hours. Why is it that time away goes so quickly compared to time at home?

I’m in Yangshuo in Guanxi province - a city of 300,000 but the tourist area down on the Li River is a smattering of hostels, guesthouses, hotels and cafe’s where touts for all of the above converge on the tourists wandering down the quaint pedestrian only streets. It’s a world away from the concrete jungle that we left behind in Hong Kong and Guangzhou and though it is a town that is loaded with tourists it still has a charm similar to that of Hoi An in Vietnam.

A departure from excruciatingly high accommodation prices has also given Yangshuo the thumbs up from me and my travelling companions. A clean 3 star double room with ensuite for 80 Yuan ($15) would bring a smile to even the grouchiest traveller in China.

The trip here was amazingly painless - after 8 hours sitting in the bus terminal in Guangzhou to get on a bus there was the fear that the bus would be full, uncomfortable, filled with smokers, or most likely, all of the above. Fortunately the bus was almost empty, there was leg room aplenty, no smoking on board, and the seats were more akin to business class airline seats than the seats on the school bus I’d expected.

I slept, the others didn’t. A wry smile worked its way onto my face when I awoke to hear three men snoring and I wondered if the others on the bus were grateful that my waking had reduced the snoring numbers by a quarter?

Our sense of adventure is still strong but rather than tackle rafting or rock climbing we’ve so far stuck with the massages, beer swilling (cheapest in a bar yet 10 Yuan ($2) for Tsing Tao long necks), and doing my darndest to beat the girl behind the bar at Havana at pool. For the record - 3-0, her way. Good player, poor hustler! I think I might go back tonight to exact some revenge, or more likely, lose my dignity completely.

And coffee. What the hell is going on in this country? A sign at one of the cafe’s on West Street proudly announces to those passing by that they don’t serve Starbucks Coffee, they serve ‘good’ coffee. If I had more courage and a chalk stick I’d write under ‘but we charge even more than their extortionist rates.’ You can get a coffee in this town for between $5 to $10, or a couple of bucks less than our room for a night...

I haven’t edited my pics from Macau but once I do I’ll get them onto www.jamiemcdonald.com

Off now to eat and win that damn game of pool.

Tags: china, guangzho, photos, pictures, travelling, yangshuo

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