© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated Yangshou day 3

China – Yangshou – New Years Eve – 31st December

When we arrived in Yangshou we’d heard that the main cooking school ‘Yangshou Cooking School‘ offered some great half day classes so we booked this for the first part of the day. We had a pick up from our cookery master from Bamboo after checking out and we were taken to the local market, en route we picked up a few others who were also booked onto the cooking class and we arrived at the market ready for our first part of the class. It was really good to see the market in full swing, we’ve obviously seen many markets since traveling but each one always has something different. This one for example sold freshly cooked Dog meat, rabbit and a few sad cats were kept in baskets ready to await their doom. Both of us are cat lovers so seeing them there was pretty distressing, the dogs were already cooked and ready to eat. It’s a veer strange thing for westerners to witness but we don’t have them same approach to food as the east and especially in China food is food and you eat what you can, when you can. This mind set is still very much in place in the south. We were told not to photograph the dogs, and to be fair it wasn’t a pleasant experience, but it’s all part of the process of finding out about different cultures. The rest of the market place was bustling with energy and it was great to see all of the fresh produce and also have an explanation into the different food types.

Following the market tour we were piled into a van and taken to the cooking school. They are situated very close to the harbour where we got the boat to and they’re location is perfect for the environment. They have an open kitchen where everyone has their own cooking place, wok and sauces, the head chef stays at the front of the class for demonstration purposes and then we cooked what she did straight after, as she came around the make sure everything was going to plan. This is the best cooking class we’ve done so far as we did most of the preparation and all of the cooking for each dish. In total we had 4-5 dishes varying from stuffed vegetable/canopy style appetisers to the local delicacy beer soaked fish. The latter really was a delight. After each course we sat outside and ate as a group, except for the last two courses which we ate as 2 dishes togethers.

All in all the cooking class was excellent, the teacher was really coherent and patient and we enjoyed good food and company in a wonderful setting. We would recommend the school to anyone visiting Yangshou for sure.

After the class we went back to Bamboo to collect our bags and walked to the next village along from the pier Shi Ban Qiao the hostel we were moving to ‘Trippers Carp Diem‘ had been recommended to us by fellow travellers and we’d already scouted out the area on our bikes a few days ago so we knew it was in a good location. We sacrificed comfort for location on this one and saved our pennies in booking a dorm room. There is always plenty of space in the dorms in China but the beds are often a little hard. This was the case, but considering the quality of the service, food and location we couldn’t complain too much.

We had some food at the hostel and then set off for our New Years Eve bash at Monkey Jane’s. When we arrived it was pretty quiet, but before long the card playing crew came along and Helen succumbed to wearing the official Monkey Jane t-shirt. We enjoyed some more card games and the beer flowed freely. More and more people arrived and before long the rooftop bar was rammed. The cards stopped and we enjoyed a funny game of beer pong against a couple of the lads, much to our despair we lost!! And we watched them win time and time again afterwards, we think this was something to do with their distracting crazy dancing each time the opposition took a turn!

We met some fun people and a other travellers making the same trip as us – over many drinks, dances and ole langs sine we agreed to meet Emma and Doug the following night for food. The party was a good laugh, it was just great to go out, have a few drinkies and lot’s of fun too!! We enjoyed a good little boogy when the music hit it right and there were even a few fireworks to keep us entertained!

We left at around 2am and walked home along the dark paths to the village. What a fab end to 2010!! Happy New Year!!

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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