The weather was warm today and I wore shorts and a short-sleeve shirt for the trip to Yalong Bay
. We had a simple noodle breakfast at the market, then moved down the road to our new hotel. The new room is much bigger, with a lot more furniture, a better shower, plenty of mirrors and even fly-ire in the windows so we are safe from mosquitoes. In the past this would have been a very good hotel, but now it's past its prime. The lift no longer works and the TV has only two channels. Last night's had several, but it made little difference as they were all in Chinese anyway. The restaurants, sauna, business center, etc. proudly displayed in their brochures all seem to be defunct. It's a common story in China. Things are not maintained. They just deteriorate until they can be pulled down and replaced. The young receptionist greeted us warmly and we climbed the six flights of stairs where another staff member opened up for us and brought us a thermos of hot water. As with many hotels here, we do not have a key. We just have to find someone to open up for us when we come back to the room.
It took us a while to find out what transport to take to Yalong Bay. My information was to take a bus 2 or 4 to Daidonghai, then a 102 minibus for the 20 km trip to Yalong. The most frequent bus along the main road near us is a 202 and, after some time being misdirected by local tourists, we realized that the 202 is actually Bus 2. From Daidonghai a big double-decker bus picked us up for the rest of the trip, not the minibus we expected
. It was a very pleasant scenic ride, and we spent the day exploring the 7 km beach and some of the big resorts in the area, including the one where the Miss World pageant took place until a new building was constructed especially for it. When we paddled in the water it was a bit chilly so we were glad we hadn't prepared to swim. There were several people in the water, though not as many as there were lying on the beach or burying each other in the sand.
We had a light lunch at a Visitors' Centre - a rather tasteless and overpriced round bread filled with meat and a delicious chilled coconut. After we finished the juice, I signaled to the server to chop it in half for us and we enjoyed the flesh, struggling to prise it open with a fork. Late in the afternoon, on the advice of other travelers, we picked up a 102 minibus going the opposite way, so that we would have a seat for the trip home. This bus went almost all the way back to town. We got off on the far side of a very interesting pedestrian bridge that crossed over the river halfway before the two larger bridges for vehicles. On the other side we found a street restaurant where we had a great meal of claypot fish, stir-fried greens and a dish of aubergine. We were also very daring and ordered half a dozen grilled oysters, smothered in garlic, from a nearby street stall. There were people sitting on stools, shelling the oysters. The cook would sniff each one before putting them on the grill. I guess you have to have some kind of quality control. With a cold beer, this was one of our best meals so far, a fitting end to a very enjoyable day.Raymond's Travel Page
Last night was very noisy, with fireworks going off throughout the night, but especially at midnight. There was also a noisy karaoke session on the floor above us, with many singers who definitely shouldn't quit their day-job. I would have slept through it all anyway, but Yoong woke me up at midnight, insisting we go down in the street to see the fireworks. Most of them were of the bang-bang kind so I didn't really see the need. In fact, the only colourful ones we saw were from the hotel window. China has just lifted the ban on fireworks, so the locals seem to be making up for lost time. Any lingering evil spirits must certainly have been banished by now. By the time we hit the street the climax was over, but we got the security guard to take a photo of us in front of brightly-lit fašade of the hotel.