a few things i had to do this morning: first (9am), i was checking out of my private single room at the pan tao hotel and relocating to the shared dormitory of the backstreet inn youth hostel. then i had breakfast in the form of chinese dumplings (RMB$4). that was followed by dropping off my backpack at the aforementioned backstreet inn and then finally picking up the motorcycle i rented for the day (RMB$150). the guy was showing me how to work the bike and i did a small test run on the cobblestoned street of west road to demonstrate that i could safely ride the motorcycle. he even gave me a helmet to wear. by 10am i was on my way for a full day of high speed adventuring.
i took the back roads and did a circuit around the outer perimeter of yangshuo, snaking through surreal karst mountain pathways. for most of the trip i was traveling on rocky, dirt roads, and i never went faster than 15mph. the weather was nice, with a nearly blue sky, which was occasionally eclipsed by the orange dust kicked up by passing trucks. the foreigners i saw were all on bicycles, with a few of the more richer tourists riding in luxurious stretch golf carts. i paid little attention to them as i sped by, blowing up a plume of dust in my wake.
moon mountain summit view
i got as far as moon mountain, where i parked the bike and climbed to the crescent-shaped window and continued upwards to the summit, where i had a spectacular view of the nearby karst formations. coming down, i met a canadian couple, and we planned on having dinner together later in the evening.
bamboo raft junction
moving rafts upriver
back on my motorcycle it was just a 15 minute ride back to yangshuo on the nicely paved 321 highway. nobody was in the room when i made it back to the hostel, as i took a hot shower and relaxed on my bunk bed. before i went out again, i met a chinese girl (who had the bed below me) who's spending a month in yangshuo, "recovering from some emotional wounds," as she explained it to me. i didn't bother asking what was her drama.
night food market
setting the table
the canadian couple (scott and anna) and i had dinner at the night market. a large catfish, some tofu, some eggplant, and some rat - the rat was already dried and tasted just like tough jerky, wasn't really worth the RMB$30. scott and anna paid a young chinese girl to play a chinese song on her portable amp and electic guitar. after we paid, anna though maybe we paid too much, and we asked to see the check. they were taking a long time and i went up and demanded to see our bill, which by now had mysteriously disappeared. "damn, what's going on here?" i said in a raised voice, and told the manager to add up our dishes, which didn't nearly come close to the amount we ended up paying. after we found our waitress, they recalculated the amount, and sheepishly giving us back RMB$60.
we went back to busy west street, where we found a hidden rooftop bar and had some drinks. from high above we couldn't hear the noise from the streets down below, and in the distant we could see several illuminated karsts and then later some mild fireworks.
back at the hostel, some of the occupants had already come back. i was surprised that nobody made any effort to introduce themselves, and everyone went about their own business, pretending they had some privacy in a roomshare of 8 people. i waited for a western girl to finish with the bathroom before brushing my teeth and going to bed.