Where We Be
|Drinks, scenery, flowers, and thou -- the perfect day!
|We're a bit thirsty after our bike ride -- and wouldn't you know it, a beer vendor just happens to be waiting downstream on a
stationary bamboo raft. We pole up to her and pay her a few bucks for drinks for us and our raftsman. She opens our bottle with
a bottle opener, but our raftsman apparently thinks bottle openers are for wimps. He bites the beer cap off with his teeth and spits it out!
|The experience lasts less than an hour but we'll remember it for a lifetime
|Let the modern world slip away as you raft down the Yulong River
|Bamboo Rafting -- Yangshuo, China
Halfway through our bike ride we come to a
point where the main road goes straight and a
grassy side trail veers off to the left with a sign
saying "Wharf." Two rough-looking men stand
there insisting we should turn down this side
lane. One keeps repeating what sounds like
“baboo laughing.” It finally dawns on us he is
saying “bamboo rafting.” We turn down the lane
and run right into the Yulong River. As soon as
I see the bamboo rafts complete with lounge
chairs, I'm hooked, and Robin is at least willing
to humor me.
After agreeing on a price of 80 yuan ($10), our
poler loads our bikes onto the back of a raft
and we clamber aboard. He poles us into the
middle of the slow-moving current and we're
instantly greeted with idyllic views of green
hills reflected in the serene water. The soft
reflections would calm the most troubled soul.
The silence is unbroken by modern sounds; all
we hear is the call of birds and the drip-splash
of water as the poler pushes us along. It's one
of the most peaceful hours we've ever spent.
Everyone should do this trip at least once and
forget about the modern world for awhile.
|What a uniquely lovely spot in the world
|Notice how the raft ahead of us tips forward at a sharp angle as it negotiates a mini-rapids
|Our bike trip starts and ends near the New West Street Hotel. Look for the bicycle symbol on the map: that's the side road we bike along until the turnoff
for the Yulong River. After rafting partway back, we follow the (dashed-line) dirt road to Yangshuo, entering the town near the words "Butterfly Spring."
|Nothing like a spur-of-the-moment adventure to put a smile on your face
|At the put-out point, our raftsman wrestles our bikes to shore and points us straight ahead, but all we can see is a concrete agricultural ditch and
rice fields stretching in all directions. He shrugs and leads us along the ditch until at last I can make out the road in the distance. “Okay!” I say. He
nods and grins, and his grin widens when we tip him generously. In fact he gives me a kiss on both cheeks! I’ve never gotten that response to a tip before!