Another very hot humid day today. It was the first time I had needed to wear my sun hat and Mr L needed to get himself a hat and found himself a very nice black Chinese cap in the market for the bargain price of 70CN¥ (£7.94) – now to be known as Comrade L here-forth!
We had the option of going on a 5 hour bike ride today leaving at 7.30am but Comrade L and I decided we wanted to explore Yangzhou town in a bit more depth as we are out of here first thing Thursday morning to catch a flight to Kunming. After an excellent breakfast at Lucy’s Place, with freshly squeezed radioactive-looking orange juice and an excellent strong black coffee to set me up for the day, we wandered and explored the markets and backstreets and then headed towards the Li River to find the Riverside Path that was marked on the map and recommended in Lonely Planet.
The view of the river and karsts was splendid but there was only a limited path so it was only a brief meander but not a proper walk.
Comrade L wanted to get a bamboo raft ride on the Yulong River which lies 6km southwest of Yangzhou. His plan was to get the raft from Jinlong Bridge and then be ‘bamboo rafted’ up to Dragon Bridge, a trip of about 1.5 hours. Trying to sort this with the trip sellers who spoke no English was a challenge and involved phone conversations with English speaking Chinese and various quotes of how much this was going to cost. In the end it got so complicated we decided to get ourselves to Dragon Bridge and get a raft from there. We got a tuk-tuk out to Dragon Bridge and were passed by our driver to a raft trip seller who walked us to the bridge area which was heaving with coaches transporting people in and out and loads of rafts on the river – not what we had planned! She told us it would be 400CN¥ (£45.42)…….we told her 200CN¥ was all we were paying which was accepted – not really much option having come out all this way. So, we got our bamboo raft ride lasting 30 minutes but no option to go anywhere other than the tourist round trip along with everyone else. A bit disappointing but still good fun nevertheless.
With the bamboo raft ride done we wandered up onto the Dragon Bridge and took some photos before wandering through the tourist stalls established to relieve visitors of their yuan. Having got here on a tuk-tuk we had no obvious way to get back as there were no taxis looking for a ride. We walked back up to the main road and decided to get a drink and lunch before working out what to do next. No one in the restaurant spoke any English except for a young child who could say ‘hello’. We ordered a couple of beers by pointing to them in the fridge. Comrade L pointed to a picture of a dish on the wall, I didn’t want a full meal so said I wouldn’t order anything but just share the one meal as portions are always huge. Other people’s meals were served but not ours…….after a while we worked out that no food was coming – my no to a meal meant they thought no meal at all! Next challenge was to try and get a taxi to get us home – Comrade L found the Chinese word for taxi and I had the hotel card so showed these to the woman at the desk who worked out what we wanted and called us a taxi. Amazing what you can achieve with no common language for communication.
We were booked to go with most of our group to the Liu San Jie Impression Light Show in Yangshuo in the evening. The waters of the Li River set the stage and a dozen beautifully lit karst formations form a natural backdrop. The light show is a creation of Zhang Yi Mou, the director and choreographer of the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The light show features over 600 locals, has 3 shows a night, and with each show holding 6000 people. Chinese organisation ensured seamless flows of people, through the arrival gates and at least 3 security checks. There was then a huge holding area where we waited until getting through to our seats. The show started exactly on time and was magnificent, very atmospheric with some beautiful music. It was not quite what we expected but we were not disappointed and pleased to have bought tickets to go.
We finished the evening with Bob and Sue and had an unimpressive meal at the rice and noodle venue next to our hotel. Good company but shame about the food!
Distance walked: 22,973 steps / 9.91 miles