© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated Yangshou 4

China – Yangshou – 1st-2nd Jan 2011

We had a slow start to the new year, not a lot was done at all. Helen had quite a hangover for the first part of the morning but after a while and a re-hydration sachet she soon perked up. As the day went on we cuddled in the cafe and worked on editing and the blog. We had some good comfort food and went out for a little walk before heading into town to meet Emma and Doug for some local food. We ended up at a great cheap little clay pot restaurant away from West Street where you’ll find most backpackers eating away, you can eat a good meal for around £1. So having recovered from hangovers we swapped notes on our plans for South-East Asia and ended the night with a nice cup of chai.

We started the following day early with an hour or so of horse-riding accompanied by a local guide. The session was supposed to be an hour but Dave’s horse was a little slow so we ended up being on the horses for an hour and a half. Our guide couldn’t speak very good English so it was more about signaling and the odd whip to get the horses up to his pace. This was Dave’s first time on a horse, but they were pretty tame and we think the slow pace probably helped for the first-timers. Helen’s horse was well-behaved and just got on with it, trotting when instructed to and just followed his lead. The guide came along with 3 horses and met us at Trippers, he took the white horse which was the smallest and the most feisty so we were relieved that he was riding that one. It would have been nice to find out the names of the horses but we still managed to have a small bond! Our trip concluded by a little stop on a sandy beach where our guide proceeded to take a few photos of us with our new travel companions. It was a nice experience, perhaps a little pricey at £12 each, but we enjoyed it all the same.

We had planned to do some rock-climbing later on, but the weather came in and the temperature had dropped quite significantly so we decided to hire some bikes for the afternoon and make our way to Fuli. Tripper had given us some good advice on a route to Fuli away from the busy roads, the first part of the route took us back to where we’d been with the horses earlier on and we made out way to a little taxi ferry so we could cross the river to get to the start of the path. There was a man cooking his lunch and he was ready to eat signaling to his stomach, we tried to communicate that we didn’t mind waiting for him to eat but he left it cooking and took us over the river with our bikes. When we got to the other side we found the path straight away and set off on another biking adventure. Our target was Fuli and we had a map showing various paths and villages for us to go through. It definitely helped us to get warm and it was great riding along the bumpy trials. We’ve really enjoyed hiring bikes in China as it has always given us the best platform through which to explore in our own time. Most of the villages are very tranquil and it’s always great to see the culture of each place, seeing how people live with so little in contrast to the western world.

After some time we passed through orangeries and ended up on the road to Fuli. When we arrived there wasn’t really that much to see but we did stop for some lunch and meandered through the town’s streets until we came to the Li River. We were told we could pretty much cycle the length of the river back to Yangshou without going back onto the main road, this was the case for most of the journey and it was really good biking along the paths and through more villages, past more farmland and so on. After a while though our path led us back onto the main road and so we stuck with this until we got back into Yangshou.

We hadn’t much planned for the evening other than more work on Notworkrelated and some more good Trippers food. We’d already sampled the apple crumble which was delicious so we were looking forward to another relaxing evening. Most of the south of China comes without heating so it’s always good when we have the sun during the day, here though the weather was getting colder but we didn’t mind so much as Yangshou is a really pretty place and we were enjoying staying at Trippers so we decided to stay for a few more nights. That night we stayed in the cafe until quite late and as we were the only ones there asked if we could set up the laptop to watch another episode of Misfits. Addicted some might say!! We still made it to bed by 10.30pm though so we didn’t keep the staff up too late!

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

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