Sunday, November 4, 2012


Met up with Suzanne and found a great café serving Western-style breakfasts just up the street. A bit pricey  (50Y -@ $14 CDN) but it was comforting to enjoy a delicious cappuccino, scrambled eggs, toast, bacon , tomatoes, fruit and yogurt. We needed a good tuck up, as we had an active morning planned- a 25K round trip bike ride through the scenic countryside to the Moon Hill  (Yueliang Shan) formation and back.

Intrepid explorers David, Helen, me and Suzanne

It was another warm and sunny day- my t-shirt and capris would have been better as a tank top and shorts. Chen negotiated half day rentals for us all (40Y) and we set out in the crazy traffic without helmets or bike bells. Navigating the traffic without accident was a miracle, but we soon passed under the city gate and were in the country. The lush greenery and rice fields against the tall limestone formations was breathtaking – it brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye as this was one of the main things I had wanted to see and experience in China. Or may be it was just the jet lag...

Rice field- Yangshou countryside

We stopped to watch some river boatmen pass in traditional bamboo rafts, using the traditional long pole method, though most have outboard engine backup now.

Boatmen on the River Li

We stopped at a café beneath Moon Hill, where our group split up.

Suzanne and I opted to hike the 1200 foot trail to the top of Moon Hill. It was very steep in places and a tough, sweaty climb. Both in good physical shape (thanks bootcamp!) and keeping a good pace, we made the ascent in under 30 minutes.

Moon Hill from afar

The view of the Li River Valley from the top was spectacular, as was the view of the circular opening (Moon) itself.
We sunned ourselves for a while, allowed locals to take photos with us and then made our descent in about 20 minutes. After that, a refreshing drink at the café was a must- ice cold beer to the rescue!
Helen and David soon returned from the mud bath cave they had visited and excitedly relayed their experience there. We took advantage of the tourist menu and all ordered hamburgers and fries. It was like back home enjoying a summer barbeque on the patio except surrounded by Chinese people. Wait, that was my backyard in Kanata

View through Moon Hill

After our mug up, we cycled back to town and went our separate ways. I haggled and snagged a unique butterfly top I’d spied from my bike that morning, then returned to my room to do my laundry in the sink.
I was finally able to connect to the wifi at the hotel, only to find that both Blogger and Facebook are blocked in China. Maddened, I sent a quick email update to a few family and friends then showered off the dust in preparation for supper.

At supper we confirmed our excursions for the next day. Having purchased the Adrenaline Package- I was entitled to rock climbing in Yangshou which is one of the premier climbing areas in the world. Not having climbed in 15 years, afraid of heights and jet lagged, I hardly felt up to it. But “YOLO” is my motto and I was going to show up and give it a try, no matter how I felt or how I poorly did. How many people get the chance to do that?

Not wanting to sit around twiddling my thumbs for the morning, I chose to attend the Yangshou Cooking School before the climb. Maybe I’d stretch myself from my usual roast chicken and spaghetti recipes. Suzanne decided to join me on the cooking course, but no one volunteered to go climbing with me. Helen and David opted to schedule a boat cruise while we cheffed.

One more pass around the markets for Suzanne and I, so I could replace the sunglasses I broke and stock up on some much needed earrings (I have 48 pairs at home), then off to bed at a decent hour- big day ahead!

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