We arrived here pretty late in the afternoon of christmas eve after our 17 hour train journey from shanghai (i'm still not getting used to how tiny the bunks are on those trains - or how wet the toilets are!!!) so Merrick took us to a local restaurant for dinner which was pretty rank but super cheap - only cost us 28 yuan each which is less than 2pounds! after that some of us went for a drink at an aussie bar while the others went to painting and calligraphy classes then me and Katie went to collect them from the hotel after their classes and show them to our bar!!
! Well, what a night! we even convinced merrick who cant drink to save his life to come out for a few beers and everyone was pretty smashed - we spent hardly any money! I managed to convince the barman to ply me with free drinks and i even got to pour everyones tequila shots at midnight to celebrate that it was christmas day! Unfortunately the night ended in tears though as one of the barmen got too drunk for his own boots and told us all to p*** off along with a few other nasty things when merrick popped some of the balloons that were decorating the bar... apparently its chinese custom to pop balloons at the end of a party if you've had a good time and we all thought it was really sweet that he was showing us he really enjoyed his night as he's never celebrated christmas before but this bloke ruined it all for us!! oh well, not to worry we just havent been back there since!
Christmas Day (yesterday) was totally ace. we started off on a bike ride for 4 hours which took us out around a small selection of the hills of Yangshuo. i cant really describe what they look like but they are pretty much hills/mountains with trees growing on them and they're huge! you'll have to wait for the photos to understand. We all donned our santa hats for the bike ride except Cameron as he's rubbish, and sue provided christmas songs from her ipod speakers in the basket of our bikes!!! I've never said hello or merry christmas to so many people in one day before
! we cycled through lots of little gatherings of houses and were shouting "Ni Hao, Shin Din Quai La" which is obviously "hello, merry christmas" didn't you all know that!?!? Anyway, the bike ride was awesome and we even got lunch for free at a restaurant right next to moon hill which is one of the hills with the shape of a moon in it - again you'll have to wait for the photos! its very cool! We cycled back to our hotel after that and had to speadily get ready for our 'riverboat cruise' which really should have been called bamboo raft chug or something along those lines! The view was spectacular but our raft ran out of petrol - we were at the back of the 4 rafts we had in our group and noone could hear us screaming for help so our little guide man had to call one of the others to come back and get us!!! It was so funny, Lloyd, Cameron, Lucy and Paul came sailing back down the Li River to save us an we had to tie our raft to theirs so that we could all get back!!! I actually couldnt stop laughing when our little guide mans engine spluttered to a stop and he had to run to the front of the boat and start paddling with only one oar to get us out of the way of a canal boat!! It really was a hilarious sight! We eventually got back to land safely and then had to endure an hour bus ride back to the hotel in a tiny tiny minivan which was worse than going on a rickety old rollercoaster as it threw us around so much!
blimey, this is taking forever - but i guess theres a lot to say as its been so much fun!!
Last night we all went out for dinner at the global cafe and although i opted for chinese food (which was amazing) they did all sorts of food - camilla had a bacon burger! we opened our secret santa presents which was so funny!!! brilliant seeing everyones faces as they opened their pressies!!! We did them all one at a time and the suspense was killing me as i waited for lloyd to unwrap his cuddly panda and superman boxers but he actually loved both so it was worth it!! I'm still not sure who bought me my present, i think we narrowed it down to trang or qwae but whoever it was i hope they were joking with part of it... i got waterproof fleecey mittens which are awesome and obviously whoever got them heard me moaning that i lost mine before we came away, a little chinese trinkets box which is beautiful and such a good pressie as i havent bought anything for myself yet... and they bought me toesocks. i'm sure it must be a joke as EVERYONE knows that toe socks make me sick. at least i hope they know. now i have the problem that i've run out of clean socks... so i put a dirty pair back on or chance the clean toe socks?? well, i tried to wear them last night and nearly threw up so i'll have to settle with smelly feet until i can next do some washing (about 4 days then... urgh!!!)
today has been awesome aswell..
. one of the best days so far of the whole trip i think!! We went to a cookery class this morning and got taught how to make 5 local style dishes! My god they were delicious - well, mum, traceys, as you know i am a good cook anyway but our teacher seemed quite impressed with me today! hurrah! He even told me that i was very good at chopping and didnt believe i hadnt used one of those giant knives before - i think its all those episodes of ready steady cook paying off!! Haha! i bought a recipe book from our teacher for 20 yuan which is just over 1 pound and it has all the dishes we cooked (and ate) this morning! We made some tofu dumpling things which werent very nice, a fish and vegetable tomato dish, chicken and cashew nut, green veg with chili and ginger and the best, egg plant ... oops sorry its being with all these australian, fried aubergine with more garlic!!! yumm yumm yumm.. i'd actually say my dishes tasted nicer than some of the ones we've had dished up in restaurants! i cant wait to cook them for you guys when i get home!!
ok, i think i've written about everything now, so watch this space until next time!! xxxxxxxxx
Yangshuo is amazing! that's all i can say about this place really!!! I'm sure there's plenty of other places in China that could easily compete but this has been the best place we've visited so far! Its absolutely beautiful! I've taken quite a few photos of this place but unfortunately the internet here doesnt like photos so i cant upload them!