with so many local people telling i should visit the huangguoshu waterfall, i decided to wake up early and take an one hour bus ride (RMB$10) to see this spectacular attraction for myself. the weather was grey - honestly, i haven't seen nice weather since jianshui - and the threat of rain was imminent. i checked out of my guesthouse room - my favorite receptionist was on duty this morning, all smiles and pigtails - and left my bags there for a few hours while i went sightseeing in anshun one last time.
when we arrived i was surprised at the entrance fee - RMB$80 - about half of what i thought it'd be. feeling like i got a bargain, i went in. before you actually see the waterfall, first you walk through a really nice and fragrant bonsai garden. normally on any other day this would be the main attraction for me, but i focused on waterfalls so i quickly went through the garden. a nicely maintained stone pathway led you to the waterfall, as slowly you see more and more of it between the trees, as the noise of the waterfall got louder, and the area became misty from the spray. i was there early (around 10am) so i just happened to beat the horde of chinese tourists, which i could see off in the distance behind me.
on the opposite bank of the waterfall is a massive green hill composed of what looks to be moss but its actually small bamboos.
the path continues through a cave that goes behind the waterfall, with several openings where you can see the curtain cascading down below.
by the time i was leaving the waterfall, it'd started to rain. the walk back wasn't bad, just some uphill steps, but for RMB$30 i could've taken a long escalator up the side of the mountain back out to the entrance. i decided to get some exercise instead.
i was ahead of schedule (i didn't expect to be back until 2pm) and by the time i caught the return bus back to anshun, it was still just 12:30. i went to the market to get a bigger bag - one of these cheap tarp bags that cost RMB$5 each. i had lunch at a lamb noodle soup before returning to the guesthouse to claim my bags. turns out the new bigger bag i got was actually too small, big enough to fit just a small backpack. opening another bag - the one that has my collection of books i've accumulated during my travel - i saw a handwritten note in chinese and a doll! apparently my favorite receptionist wanted to surprise me with a present. i pretended not to see it, said good bye to everyone, and left for the bus station.
i must've been carrying 60 lbs. worth of gear. by the time i got to the station - just a 3 minute walk - i felt like my arms were going to fall off from carrying all that weight. i bought a ticket for guiyang (RMB$25) and climbed aboard the bus, stowing my bags in the luggage compartment down below.
i sat in the back, two seats to myself. there was a television playing some chinese police drama. occasionally i'd snapped photos through my dirty bus window. soon i fell asleep.
highway view from anshun to guiyang
when i woke up i was surprised we were in another city. according to my watch we were 30 minutes early. the crazy traffic in outer guiyang made sure it took us another 30 minutes before we actually got into the city, to the bus station.
with all my gear back on, it was time to play that fun game, find a place to stay in a strange new city. once again, there was no traffic hotel, so i had to walk a little bit away from the station. with just enough chinese knowledge, i was able to read a sign that said "sports hotel," built right next to the gym where i could see women (and some men) doing aerobics to terrible loud pop music. at the front desk it took a while to get some service - some people from chengdu were there and throwing their weight around, being as loud as possible - and i got angry and sort of shouted at the poor girl working the registration by herself, asking when i could get a room. the rooms were $158/night, reasonable for a city hotel (although i consider guiyang, without having seen it yet, sort of a backwards hick town).
guiyang construction projects
after a hot shower (a bathtub! although the water drains slowly), i rested for a bit, munching on some snacks, before getting dressed again and heading back out to find an internet cafe. i went to one nearby the hotel, but all their computers were physically locked (inside of wooden boxes) and when i asked the girl if i could access the usb port, she said no, so i left. after some walking in the rain towards the city center, i came across another cafe. shiny and new, i could see they had locked machines as well, but there were a few that were unlocked, and they said i could use them.
that ends our story for today, i'm posting photos like crazy (almost 100 photos since i left kunming), and later tonight, if i feel up to it, i saw a wild mushroom restaurant near the bus station that i might try. photos will be up shortly.
update: after i left the internet cafe, i made it as far as the people's square (where a giant statue of mao saluting the people stands prominently in center stage) before feeling too wet and hungry to continue any further. i turned back and found a xinjiang muslim restaurant next to the movie theatre. i had two skewers of lamb as well as some noodles: the lamb was good, but the noodle was mediocre at best (cold spaghetti noodles tossed with some more lamb, green peppers, and tomatos) and the uighur waitress was in a foul mood, nearly throwing me out when i said i couldn't read the menu. after finishing, i bought some drinks and returned to the hotel to take another hot bath around midnight and finally going to bed around 2am.