Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Day 20 - Yangshuo

Land of heaven.

I love this place. Yangshuo is where good boys and girls go when they're reincarnated. I'd upload a picture or two if it wasn't an atrocious pain in the ass. Just google (images) "yangshuo". I need say no more.

Anecdote of the day: I was roaming about, looking for various things for people (gifts almost covered), and was thinking about tai ji quan clothes. In a used-bookstore, I spoke with the owner and he recommended I speak with the master at the Yangshuo Tai Ji Center, pictures of which were behind the counter. I thought "Alright, I'll do that tomorrow." Back at the hostel, gift-sated, jian bing (a wrap that is godlike in deliciousness'ess) in hand, I got to chatting with the owner of this place.

Out of the blue, I asked if she knew where I might be able to find tai ji quan clothes. She goes "Yeah, my uncle does tai ji quan here." (You can see where this is going...) She calls him up, has a discussion with him, and he rings her when he got to the bridge. Met him just 50 meters away, and pulled up short. I'll be damned if it wasn't the man from the pictures in the bookstore. I just shook my head, smiled, greeted him and introduced myself. Off we went on his motorcycle, through the sunset markets of Yangshuo (words just can't describe, I'm sorry).

We arrived at this little retreat, very quiet and apart from the West Street while only being 100 meters removed from it. Took a look around, told him I'd seen his picture in the bookstore and we went into a little office with dao's, jian's and all sorts of things, including 'uniforms'. For 200 kuai, I got a silk shirt and pants. Silk is simply a wonderful thing. I'm a silk neophyte - never had anything silk-made before. A seamstress in Tangshan told me it would cost me 1000 yuan for a silk outfit for tai ji quan. Boo-ya.

Just made my day, which, given where I am and how it was spent, was no mean feat. Love those kinds of "it's a small China" experiences. Just fantastic.

Going to rent scooters and jet around the area (look out, pedestrians...) and then rent mountain bikes and continue our tour of the countryside. Tomorrow will be a nice day, followed by a return to Guilin. I may yet do the Long Ji terrace tour the day after tomorrow, but it will depend on when it returns as my train to Guangzhou is at 22:00.

I'm very much looking forward to this next part of the trip: visits and taking it easy. Not going touristy at all, and money will be saved en-masse (which is needed given my horrendous excesses here and in Guilin over the last 3 days).

A little more than half done my tour-de-force, and it will feel fantastic to begin my slow return north, knowing that it is bringing me closer to coming back to Canada and Angie (and many others). It'll be one helluva summer, I can feel it.

One last note: Felix and I supped on snake soup the other night, and this morning I picked up the triple-CD music pack from the restaurant we ate at. I was talking to the manager when we ate there, and was enquiring about the music playing as it was all very familiar. She sold it to me for a pittance, so back I come with Chinese pop music and a bit of auditory nostalgia.

Now, time for another Sol or other brew, and hanging out with the tour group of Brits who arrived today. Met three of them (Astin, Ruppert and something else) and they're nice folks. Okay, I'm off.

(By the way, I can't go to this blog itself, only post. So I can't comment on comments. Sorry, Andy. ;) )


Andy said...

Since my commenting genius will go largely unnoticed, I'll just say "You got your uniform. Sweet!".


PG said...

Somehow, I am picturing you looking more and more like some herculean Sherpa guide lugging a 10 feet high backpack... With all the stuff you have bought so far, where do you stuff it all???

Beware ladies. Pat has discovered the power of silk. Next: satin bedsheets... And a leopard stripes bed cover? You go tiger!

Seriously, glad you found your Tai Ji Quan uniform, and for a great deal at that. I had a blue silk Aodai with silver (or golden?) embroidery custom made for my wedding. It was incredible... Unfortunately, I got talked into renting it, rather than buying it, so no souvenir for me...

Continue enjoying your trip. Looking forward to see all the pictures!

BTW, you have mentioned twice (on your pics and on your blog) that you have had snake soup... But you never said what it tasted like... Chicken soup? ;-)

Stay safe!


Wayward Mind said...

I sent all the things I've bought for people (10 kilos worth) back to myself (via Alistair) in Tangshan. No sherpa'ing for me!

Yeah, the snake didn't taste special. Just like chicken with a bit more chewiness. Meh.