|A little snapshot Preston took from the bus|
We loaded our luggage on our backs and headed to our different destinations. Out of the 16 in my group, ten of us ended up in Yangshuo for vacation this weekend. Because there were four boys and 6 of us girls, we decided it would be cheaper for all if Preston and I parted ways in the evenings and bunked with our fellow genders. It was holiday for the Chinese this weekend (tomb sweeping day) so try as we may we were not able to get all ten of us at the same hostel. So the girls and myself stayed at a hostel five minute walk from the bus station while the boys were about 30 minutes out.
After checking in and admiring our beautiful hostel (green forest hostel yangshuo, I recommend it to anyone who is lucky enough to venture here one day) we met up with the men - who rented bikes for the commute from their place to ours.
Though the caves weren't all too far from where we were staying (maybe ten minutes) we all opted for the scenic byway which was the most lovely ride through the Yangshuo countryside anyone could ever imagine. It was so tranquil cruising down the narrow roads past the green fields, lotus filled ponds and the towering misty mountains. So very tranquil until my sweet boys peddle decided to dislodge from the rest of the bike body. Whoops. It was at no fault of his own, none of our bikes were top notch but his did look like it had been through the ringer one too many times. We backtracked the path to find the bolt that had come lose, found it (luckily), and used a rock to twist it back on. This happened once more before arriving at the cave but again we were able to find the bolt and get it on good enough to ride.
|Waiting for the peddle repair|
|taking a little break to be goofy|
I had been to Yangshuo once before when I was last in China (fall 2010) and visited some mud caves with my girls. It's one of those "you've got to do it" things, so I was excited to introduce my group to the joy of immersing yourself in thick goopey mud. We all changed into our swim suits and entered the cave with a tour guide and the cutest family of curly haired kids I have ever seen. The cave was sweet, the stalactites and stalagmites were lit up in all different colors. Our tour guide would stop us here and there to tell us about the different formations and the stories behind them. The tour took us through different caverns, across underground rivers and over submerged bridges (due to high water levels) before arriving to the mud pit.
Everyone jumped in, there was not an ounce of hesitation from anyone! It is pretty cold at first but once you are submerged, you don't really care. We played and played, went down slides built into the side of the cave, and got a bunch of photos taken by the typical tourist photographer who tries to get you to buy overpriced photos (which buy, we did). After a time Preston got very ambitious and decided he was going to go all the way under the muck, head and all. He did this and came out looking like a mud monster/statue esque, poor guy couldn't see or hear hardly! Like a good wife, I summoned the photographer back over to take a photo and by his genius I posed Preston like the 'Thinking Man' statue. After this undeniable photo op, I guide Preston out of the mud pit and up to the showers, he may have frightened a few Asians along the way.
The best part of this whole experience (if you ask me) would have to be the hot springs we got to enjoy after cleaning off the mucky muck. We soaked for a good thirty minutes, dried off, and exited the cave into the bright and beautiful world.
|me and the lovely ladies outside the cave|
After returning our bikes we all decided to catch some dinner and end our night with a cruise around West Street (which was absolutely packed) to shop & people watch.
|busy, bustling West Street|
|the cutest buddhas ever|
Day one in Yangshuo was an undeniable success.