Around YangShuo (Part 1)

14th - 17th Mar 2004.

YangShuo was a great jumping off point for us to get on a bicycle. It enabled us to visit most of the tourist cheese in the area including some spectacular scenery, rivers and caves. It was the "real deal" surrounding villages that were the most fun.

Against all recommendations Pig-headed Jason insisted that a tandem was the only real way to travel. This brick-shit-house of the bicycle world came complete with added extras like no suspension, a single speed, a non-working bell and the worlds heaviest indestructable frame.

Despite rumours of bumpy roads, long distances and hills Jason knew in his heart that only real men ride tandems.

This is Mountain Mo our guide. We didn't name him that. We named him Mountain Bike Mo as he was totally shagged half way through the first day even though his bike had gears, brakes and suspension.

Here he is testing sugar cane and like all good Chinese, spitting whatever he didn't want in his mouth onto the ground.

This is Oliver our lovely Butterfly Cave Guide. Do you think she looks like a butterfly?

Half way around we had to start making Puma jokes as in Bolivia and Peru the locals think everything looks like a Puma. Here, we were shown a leaf and told it looked like a butterfly. It was only her unbridled enthusiasm that stop us from laughing out loud.

Here she in front of the crowning glory of the attraction a model of a butterfly thorax that you could walk through the middle of... it was seriously crap... though the limestone caves were pretty good.

The Yilong river is a bit of a fave for the premier event in the YangShuo Cheese Olympics, Bamboo Rafting.

For a mere US$12 you too could be bored stiff sitting on this raft for a hour or two. (We decided to give this one a miss.)

Nice scenery though.

Moon hill did what it said on the tin.

A nice walk up was marred by two stalking drinks ladies who must have heard that if you follow tourists long enough they will buy a drink out of pity... not wanting to send the wrong signals we politely declined to watch the tears.

Silver Cave was something else. Having been in a number of limestone caves around the world this one is still the best.

Despite the cheesy lights, this place was so big, and so old, it was awesome. This cave is unusual as it has stalagtites that date back to 6,4 and 2 million years.

The whole of South West China was a giant shallow sea that created the limestone towers and hence the acid that causes the caves.

Some jokes cross the culture gap. This little rock is "Penis" rock. Our lovely young Chinese guide was not remotely flustered announcing this little number. Immediately afterwards all the locals on the tour looked at us to make sure we were not offended before laughing.

But none of the Chinese seemed to understand the humour of this little sign. Apparently it means don't hit the stalagtites or other limestone formations to listen to their sound.

Jason told Mo this was not the correct English and after a while he got bored and stopped asking why.

The next page continues the story.

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