cause life won't wait

Yangshuo, China

Yesterday we came back to Guilin after a few days in Yangshuo. Yangshuo is one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists, so there is lots of  touristical infrastructure and touts are just about everywhere. One of the first things our host Bruno tought us was „bu jau“, which means „don’t want“ and became our most frequently used phrase, especially in the city center.

Like many other tourists we got there by bamboo boat from Guilin – rather a raft made of some 7 big bamboo trunks with two little benches on it. The 2-hour ride down the Li river was relaxing and very scenic. We got off in Xingping, which is a little riverside town and also the place printed on the 20 Yuan note. From there we took a bus to Yangshuo.

Yangshuo itself is quite small and – compared to the other Chinese cities we’ve been to before – also quite proper looking. We spent a lot of time just wandering around enjoying the scenery and on two days we rent bicycles and cycled around the countryside which is amazingly pretty. Just a stonethrow from the city the ricefields begin and we could see people working on them using their bare hands as well as the occasional water buffalo. Along the streets people waved at us and children shouted hello. Somewhere on the way we also met the two Swedish girls who were on the bus from Lao to Thailand with us some months ago.

We are still amazed by how cheap China can be, especially if you are with locals. The bikes were 4 Yuan per day, which is about 50 eurocents. The rice noodles we had for breakfast were an equivalent of 25 eurocents and one hour in the internet cafe was 20 eurocents. However double pricing is a common practice with international tourists paying a rather arbitrary addition of 50 to 200 percent compared to the price locals pay. Chinese tourists also pay more than locals, but not as much as non-chinese tourists do.

On two mornings we joined our host Bruno in the English conversation class he teaches. His students are around 16 to 17 and mostly girls from the villages around Yangshuo who came to the city to attend a school similar to college for three years. Although having had English for several years before they came to Yangshuo, Bruno told us that they can hardly speak a word when they start to attend his school. Their goal is to become fluent in English – which they usually do – and find a „good“ job in an office, restaurant or maybe even in a hotel. Receptionists in Yangshuo usually work 12 or more hours per day, 7 days a week and earn around 100 Euros per month. Bruno’s girlfriend works as a receptionist in one of the hotels in the city center and we hardly met here because most nights she would come home after midnight and leave again for work before 7 am.

Back in Guilin it was raining quite heavily so we just spent a lazy day with our host Qiong and her son. Tomorrow we will take the train to Kunming which takes 25 hours but this time we luckily have beds, not only hard seats like last time.

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