Rain Rain Go Away

By Chris S., CE Adviser in China

The past two days have been pretty tiring. I might even add Monday in there too with the bike ride. Yesterday morning we went to Cherry Blossom Paradise. Unfortunately, the massive amount of rain from the night before made them close the cave. Then again, I have been to two others, so I’m probably not missing out too much.  We took a boat ride around the area and it was fairly interesting. They would drive the boat close to these shacks and they all had different themes. One was a jungle tribe from Hunan Province. It was basically a bunch of 18-year old kids dancing around with animal hides on. It was a little cheesy, but I did get some good pictures there. The cool thing was that they had all these different shops set up with knick-knacks from the minority tribes. After that we went back to the house for lunch.

When we finished eating we took a bus to a small village outside of Yangshou to see hand made silk fans be made. The lady there was very nice and I did want to buy a painting that her father had made, but we were trekking back and I didn’t want to ruin it in my backpack.

The trek back was interesting. It was about 7 or 8 miles on country roads. We also had to cross a river on a boat. Half of the time it was raining, and the rest of the time it was misty. It was really good though, and even though I probably didn’t get many good pictures, it was very beautiful. It is hard to capture a lot of this stuff because you can only use one of your senses when looking at photographs. It has been so cloudy here that it ruins a lot of the pictures. Needless to say, I was exhausted when we got back, and I’m still tired. We ended up going to Lucy’s last night to use the Wi-Fi, but it ended up being pretty slow. I’m downloading Animal House so Chris can see what a real American University is like.

When we got back last night I had a email from Hannah, one of the English girls that was here when I arrived. She is in Tanzania working on a community-building project. It was interesting to hear what she was up to.

Today was a lot of work too. We road bikes out to Moon Hill in the pouring rain. We ended up going to Big Banyan National Park first. It’s basically a tree that has multiple trunks coming out of the ground and joining a massive tree in the middle. It was something I had never seen, but it was pouring as I mentioned so the camera stayed in the bag. We walked across a bridge that had water flowing over the top of it from all the rain that has come down in the past few days. I thought it was a horrible idea, but a lot of people were doing it an they seemed to be making it across fine. Horrible logic in justifying why I could make it across, but I’m here to tell about it.

We had lunch after and it was another typical Chinese lunch. A whole fish, a lot of vegetables, eggplant, rice, and tea. As usual it was good. The best part was just getting indoors and drying off a bit. The woman there gave us directions to Moon Hill and we were off.

Did I mention that our guide, Percy, is horrible with directions and he is always asking other people along the way? It always works out fine in the end. The lady did give us bad directions this time though and we went about a half-mile out of the way. When we got to Moon Hill an older lady who was trying to sell us waters greeted us. We had full bottles so were weren’t looking to buy, but it didn’t stop her from following us the hill, the whole way. It was a hell of a hike and I was really impressed that this lady didn’t even break a sweat. She said that she was a farmer and pointed out her farm from the top of the hill. When we got up there it was very impressive to learn that there are 16 different climbing routes over the archway.  Moon hill is essentially a 150-foot open arch at the top of a hill. I was proud to learn that the first person to make it over was in fact an American. Not surprising! It started to rain pretty hard again on the way down, so the steps were pretty slippery. When we got down I slipped the old lady 10 Yuan, which isn’t even a dollar, but I think she really appreciated it.

The bike ride back was good. We took a different route through the countryside and it rained off and on. It was quite stunning as usual…

When we got back to Yangshou, we were riding through town and I looked over to see a guy fishing a man’s wallet out of his pocket with a pair of chop sticks. He got it and turned around then ducked into an alley. I really wasn’t sure what was going on until after the fact. I thought the two of them were friends just messing around. I kind of feel bad that I didn’t go back and point the guy out. They were both Chinese, and I thought it was funny that the guy would target another Chinese person.

Now we’re back and I’m showered, and exhausted…

 

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