Tea Plantations and Moon Holes

 

Pre-blog entry note:

Well…in a few days it will be three years since Nanners and I left for the trip of our lives (thus far).  If we don’t start throwing up more pictures and spewing out some captions, this blog will never get finished and we’ll forget everything…So!  Forgive us for the excessive amount of pictures and incoherent rambling that follows.  We will pick up where we left off: in the badass town of Yangshuo, China.


After getting drenched in the torrential downpour at the show down on the lake, we eventually made our way back to the hotel in a cab (that took far to long to negotiate) with our fellow hotel patrons.  We spent the next two days exploring the town and country-side by motorbike.  Yangshuo (like many places in China) is a perfect place to rent a motorbike and just ride aimlessly through a maze of newly paved concrete paths.

The first day we took the advice of our hotel staff and completed a big loop around the country-side.  This would take us past amazing rock formations and through dozens of hillside tea plantations.  Our first destination was one of the more scenic tea plantations that had an amazing view just outside their tasting room.  We sampled some tea and ate lunch.  I remember we ordered a chicken and rice dish which was stirred fried with green tea leaves and hot peppers…which Anna mistook for okra.

Nanners: “Man, these okra are so good! I can’t stop eating them!”

Me: “…those aren’t okra.”

Within 20 minutes she was doubled over in pain, but she got through it and survived.  From that point on, Anna was much more careful to inspect any mysterious, saucy, vegetables she ate.

 

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The picture above shows the view from the tea plantation where we stopped for lunch.  Great tea! Spicy Food!

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We eventually made our way to Moon Rock (I think this is the name).  It’s a massive rock formation with a huge hole in the middle.  I think if you get here at the right time of year, the moon appears in the hole.  Anyway, the trek to the top is fairly strenuous, but nothing us young bucks can’t handle.  I remember being VERY sweaty.  So hot… So humid…

Another fun fact: Yangshuo has great climbing.  At this point of the trip, we had already jettisoned our climbing gear, so we didn’t get to sample the rocky delights.  We thought about renting gear and heading out to a crag, but we decided that we had a LOT to see in China and needed to be on our way.  I bring this up now because there are some crazy overhanging sport routes up the side of the “moon hole” in this formation.  Pretty sweet.

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Keep in mind: Everything I am showing you was spread over two days, but it is pretty packed together.  You can get anywhere very quickly (on a motorbike).


Sappy Side-note: It was actually during these two days that I finally understood the draw to getting a motorcycle and traveling across a country.  You can explore so much when you are on a bike and you really feel more immersed in your surroundings.  I had an urge to just keep riding when we were out there.  You really feel free when you are out exploring a new place with no plans and nothing but your backpack.


Our ride was often interrupted by rain.  We had gone a long time without rain.  So long that I had just sent home my Chacos to cut weight.  Right as we arrived in China, I wished I never sent them home…but anyway: whenever it started raining too hard, we would find a place to hunker down and take a break.  Like the strange looking building below.

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Once the rain let up, we headed down the road to check out a small town that was a little less touristy (oh yes, in case I haven’t mentioned it: Yangshuo is definitely touristy, but it a great way).  We stopped in a shop to grab some snacks and went on our way.

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At some point, we headed waaay off the map and arrived at a big bridge that led to another town.  We went down to the water to check things out and decided we had gone far enough a headed back toward Yangshuo.

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Once we were close to town again, lots of new formations popped up on our route.  We headed into a small town near the formations below (I think it was called the seven sisters or something of that nature).  The tow was super tiny and had crazy little paths we could ride on.  We came upon some old guy splashing in the water near a little waterfall and I think he was trying to get Anna to come join him… Funny and slightly creepy, but awesome nevertheless.

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The photo below is drastically altered, as you can tell, but I think it sums up why Yangshuo is so amazing.  I mean look at this: crazy ass mountain thingys, setting sun, and a bunch of rice fields.  Go to Yangshuo.

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Me, my beard, and my boot-leg Ray Bans I bought in Cambodia for $10 (I worked real hard to get that price…and I thought it was still too much…times have changed).

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Check this shit out!  We need more bar/climbing gym combinations in the US…business idea?

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We thought we would check out this vegetarian joint in the main part of town.  It had great reviews, but I remember it being just alright.

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It was actually crazy busy in town that evening.  Lots of people, the scent of garlic and chilies everywhere (literally…there is someone chopping garlic and chilies at like every shop front),  and sweet drones shaped like fighter jets (I really wanted to buy one…these things don’t exist anywhere else).

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