Bike ride out to Moon Hill and one sweaty hike up. Managed to get in for free since the ticket office staff were asleep inside the booth! The old female hawkers are amazing – hiking up in long sleeved shirts, not even breaking a sweat! Meanwhile my shirt was completely soaked halfway down (I have the disgusting photos to prove it).
View from the top of Moon Hill
Back in town, we stopped for a pizza lunch (about as good as you would think pizza in China would be – what were we thinking?!), before our bamboo raft trip down the Li River booked through our hotel. We had forgot the receipt back in our hotel room, so after we arrived in Xingping, the lady who was supposed to meet us just pointed us towards a moto-cart when we indicated we had no receipt to show her. I had no fucking clue what was going on – did that mean we’d have to pay for our trip again? We had no choice but to go with it, and strangely enough, we did get onto our pre-paid raft without having to pay again. I have no idea how things work in Chin
On the Li River
We had dinner at MC Blues, the restaurant below our hotel, the Hotel Explorer. Seeing our “American strength insect spray” on our dinner table, an interracial couple asked us to borrow some. Nolan asked the guy where he was from, to which he responded, “Fort Worth.” From those two words (a hint of an accent), coupled with his response, I knew right away he was a Texan. Only Americans respond with the city they’re from, haha! Nolan invited them to join us for dinner. Turns out they’re actually a married couple – she’s from Sichuan! (Thankfully her family is all okay in Chongqing.)
Their situation was a bit sad and complicated – they had met in Texas while she was there on a student visa, but after getting married, she was pretty much booted out of the country (as getting married nullified her student visa somehow). Anyway, we had some interesting conversations over lots of LiQuan beers. I can’t get over the fact that Texans actually use the phrase, “I tell you whut” (which I only know from King of the Hill). A funny observation I had – the more guys drink, the madder their girlfriend/wife gets. Well, not mad, but annoyed at their husband’s/boyfriend’s stupidity.
There’s an old Chinese man hawking flutes on the street who we had seen and heard fairly often. At lunch I had commented that he “should learn a new song!” as he was playing Frere Jacques just a little too much for my taste. At dinner, the old man was out again in full force, once again playing Frere Jacques, and Will (the Texan) said, “I would pay money for him NOT to play that song again!” Mei Ling asked on Will’s behalf, for the old man to play “Dixie” which was cute. I wonder how many flutes he’s able to sell in a day. Can’t possibly be that many, which does make me feel a bit bad for him, and for myself, feeling a bit helpless.
Speaking about Yangshuo’s hawkers… I had read about Yangshuo’s “Hello, Banana?” ladies in a guidebook, but as of 2008, they’ve moved onto… “Hello, memory card?”