On the Dragon’s backbone — Yangshuo

It was supposed to be sunny today, but there we were, huddled in a cave, and I could have been the victor of any wet-t-shirt contest this side of the Li River.

The rain was pounding. And wet. With big thick drops that will dominate your clothing in a matter of seconds.

We waited for a break then stepped back out into the gale, remounted our muddy bikes, and waded through the trail that had turned into a stream.

We were lost. Not completely — I did have my compass and knew which way the town was, but that’s no help when fields of rice and a river separated us from the town of Yangshuo. And we were too cheap, or stubborn, to rent out a bamboo raft to shuttle us and our gimpy bikes across the quickly rising river.

But, as with all these tales of getting lost, we found our way back. Which, by now is obvious, because I am writing about it.

This town truly is a wonder. Nestled between monolithic limestone cliffs that rise and fall like the backbone of a fish. Or, if you’re Chinese, a Dragon. Yangshuo is surrounded by two rivers, the Li Β and the Yulong, and is bordered by a seemingly endless number of fields of rice and oranges, streams, and more limestone mountains.

The downside of this natural beauty is of course the reason that brought me here in the first place — Tourism. But the rain comes as a blessing, washing away the crowds as well as the filthy streets.

The Chinese seem to have a much broader sense of trash disposal than we in the Western world. Here, what Devery has wittingly dubbed a litterbug, is the Chinese toddler who wears the ubiquitous slitted pants. In other words, crotchless pants, allowing them to pop a squat virtually anywhere and do their business while I helplessly stare with a screwed up face of disgust. That shit is normal here. Though the diaper savings must be exponential.

But I digress.

It’s raining still, as I sit on the rooftop bar of the hostel under a leaky awning that goes of like a firecracker as the rain comes in waves.

We’ve been on the move a lot, not giving me much time to slow down and collect myself enough to write. But I’ll save those stories for later. They’re good, I promise. Here’s a teaser. My friend owns a polar bear.

Now that I may have your attention, I’ll let you go. Because I need to go. Devery’s bringing me some bubble tea.


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14 thoughts on “On the Dragon’s backbone — Yangshuo

  1. Those mountains are kind of crazy looking! It looks like a very beautiful area. And now… I feel like running around in the rain. πŸ™‚

  2. Corey says:

    Hey cousin, Yangshuo is a special place for me. After an overnight train to Guilin, I took a bus to the flourishing tourist town and marched my way through the still-sleeping streets with the CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK of my carry-on rolling behind me.
    For me, it wasn’t rain, but the cold. I was frozen sitting at a cafe with a pot of coals burning under the table trying to stay warm. Anyway, thanks for “bringing” us on your journey. Don’t forget to come to Cambodia, and let us know when you’re coming. Enjoy!

    • J. William Young says:

      Hey Corey! It’d be cool to see this place in the different seasons, didn’t think it would get so cold here! I still haven’t made my plans, but since Sam is getting married in Germany now, I may have to make a quicker return home than I thought so I can still afford to make it to his wedding. I’ve been looking for flights through Cambodia, but so far no luck on anything inexpensive enough. I’ll keep you updated though, and if you have any tips on cheap flights in the area let me know. Thanks for sharing your experience here, take care!

  3. James O. says:

    Man… killin’ me.

  4. Fiona.q says:

    yea, that’s a city/town a lot of foreigners like.

  5. thirdeyemom says:

    Gorgeous pictures! I would love to check out that part of China someday!

    • J. William Young says:

      Thanks! I’d definitely recommend this area, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

  6. Reblogged this on wanderingyangshuo and commented:
    Gettting lost may lead to an another world. An very interesting view from a tourists. Nice pictures, touching stories.

    • J. William Young says:

      Thanks! Yangshuo may have been my favorite city so far. Or maybe I just really really liked the rooftop bar. Either way, Thanks for reblogging!

  7. rayannsom says:

    wow , beautiful!!

    I’ve nominated you for the liebster award! enjoy πŸ™‚


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