‘Are you still here or again?’ asked a guy I met on the street in Yangshuo. It seemed people assume I live here. It’s not too strange some think that way because I have spent a lot of time in this town this year. But I want to spend my Christmas days in a place with friends and since I have some here in Yangshuo it’s an obvious choice. It became even better when I found out my friend William will get married on the first of January! So it seemed I am at the right place at the right time!
Another reason to come to Yangshuo is that it is getting colder now. The last few days I cycled with wearing all possible clothes. I had left Rongshui, a town 160 km west of Guilin with the idea I might not find a hotel to stay in between there and Guilin. So I was prepared to camp that night. I don’t know why or how but I didn’t cycle comfortable. It went tough. Not that the road was bad or that there were difficult mountains. Sure I have some troubles with the bike but they are not of the size I should cycle with such difficulties.Cycling anyway is for a large part a mental thing. If you think it’s difficult, it IS difficult. I have checked my heartbeat but even after heavy climbs it wasn’t higher then about 100 which shows my physical condition is quite good. But my legs were not willing, at least that is what my mind said.So I cycled for some 90 kilometers and entered a little town. The town was very small on my maps but there were, I could have known that because it is always like that in China, two fandian or guesthouses. One of them had a clean room though no hot water but what can you expect in a town where there is no electricity.To my surprise it seemed everything was available here, even internet. That is to say, if there had been electricity. So I didn’t have to stay in my tent that night. At daytime it was nice and it tempting to camp anyway but when the sun went down the temperature dropped to around 6 degrees which means the night is much colder so I was happy with my hotel room.
On my ride to Guilin I had the same problems in cycling as the day earlier. Besides that I got four flat tires which didn’t make me happier. Two flats I got in just three kilometers! I have spare tires with me but of the six, five of them had more then 5 punctures in the past so they where not that good anymore.
I cycled up and down little hills until I got a plat one in a little village about 25 kilometers from Guilin. As I usually do, I don’t fix the tire, I simply change it with a good one. It’s faster and easier. The flat one I repair at night. As it goes in China, I got a whole crowd watching in amazement to see the laowai with his bike and his flat tire. I had a great theatre performance. The only thing they didn’t give me was an applause.
And then I cycled through a pine forest area. I had no idea there was such a large forest area in this part of Guangxi and in summer time I definitely would have stayed here and camp for the night. There were little lakes and dark pine forest on the hills. It looked gorgeous. The road swindled through the area, no villages or people could be seen. It was peaceful and silent. The sun and the bright sky did the rest.
And Guilin, Guilin was as always: a city made for tourist. Who wants to see Guilin as it was 20 or 30 years ago should visit Rongshui, but even there plastic palm trees are being introduced! This is what some call development. Give me the real thing!
I had been on the Guilin-Yangshuo road before and here I could check how bad I was cycling. It wasn’t that bad. I went slower then this summer even though at that time I had no rest and came straight out of the bus from Chengdu. This time I should have had a good night rest but my hotel bed had been t5he problem, something stuck in my back and I couldn’t find out what or how so I had not have much sleep.
As in the previous times when I arrived in Yangshuo, at my arrival it started to rain. When I write this, Sunday morning, it’s still raining! So I am here at the right time, at the right moment!