© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated Yangshou6

China – Yangshou – 3rd-4th January

So another day in Yangshou beckoned and the weather was still on the chilly side with plenty of moisture thrown in for good measure. We had heard about some Tai Chi lessons that Trippers could organise for guests with a local tutor, so we booked ourselves onto a course to see if we could remember anything from our previous lesson in Beijing. The tutor was really good at explaining what to do and helped you into the positions but wasn’t overly fussy if you could not manage it each time. This made the class go far more smoothly and it was very enjoyable. It’s amazing at the power that can be generated from simple moves and relaxed muscles when defending yourself. Dave got tested on a few times again to show what the motions were used for in self defence. It was freezing on the rooftop even though we had many layers of clothes to try and keep us warm!

After the two hour lesson we headed to the cafe for some warmth and food. We opted for more ginger and honey tea, which is so good, but so sweet, and some lunch. We had heard from other guests that the dragon eggplant was a good choice so we opted for the non-pork option and some tofu. We have eaten our fair amount of eggplant over the months in China, but this dish blew them all out of the water! It was amazing. Slightly fried like a tempura batter with a great sauce and veggies on top. Really great, we loved it.

We decided to head into the main town to walk off lunch and see if we could find bargains on sunglasses and some nice cushion covers that Helen had her eye on in a funky little shop on West Street. They were costly and they wouldn’t budge on the price, so we bought just the one and decided to see if we can get it replicated either back in the UK or maybe in Vietnam. On our way back to the hostel, playing on the public exercise machines by the river, we bumped into Maayke and Alex who were staying at Trippers and decided to have a walk down to the river. More often than not you’ll find a very picturesque place that in areas tends to lend itself towards being a dumping ground, this is the case we’ve seen across China. It is a case of the beauty and the beast at times.

Evening meal was again back at… you guessed it… Trippers! Comfort food to the max, soup, cheese burger and the amazingly tasty apple crumble with ice cream! Not the most classic “Chinese” of meals but you have to have some tastes of the west every so often. After some cards and a few drinks we headed to bed in the knowledge that we would have the dorm all to ourselves that evening. As soon as we had closed the door to the room a bunch of four Irish lads burst onto the scene but exited for food pretty quickly as they’d just got in from Shanghai. Misfits it was!

There were a few snores that night, but it wasn’t too bad for Helen sharing a room with 4 other lads!!

The next day was our final day in Yangshou town and along came the wet and cold weather. We had more editing and writing to catch up on so the crappy weather was a good excuse to stay inside, drink ginger and honey tea and keep warm. We finally had enough of work and decided to head out for a walk into the countryside which got the blood pumping and warmed us up no end. There are some really interesting walks and exploration to be done around China and you will always come to a little village where photograph opportunities just jump out.

For food we headed into Yangshou to find something cheap and not the hostel food, even though it was lovely, we wanted something else and some new scenery. We found a place and order our food. The food was very average and we were both disappointed. Helen’s vegetable noodles soup dish came with chicken in it and had very little flavour. We even asked for some chilli to make it more interesting but all we were given was Tabasco sauce! Not very Chinese in style or flavour.

Back at Trippers we proceeded with yet more writing and relaxing in the cafe/bar with hot chocolate. Pizza was required to forget the taste of lunch and Trippers duly obliged again. The Irish boys were having food, drinks and they cracked open the game Risk and asked Dave if he wanted to join in. Some good quality lads time was taken up, along with beers and world domination. Helen went to bed and Dave almost conquered the world, but he was too nice to the opposition! The bar closed up at 11pm and that was the end of that! We hope the lads made it to Hong Kong on time, we are sure that there train took longer that the one hour that they were told by someone in the hostel! It takes at least 10 hours we would guess!

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

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