17 07 2010

Well here is a quick update. We arrived in China a few days ago and we have been fairly busy. Finding a good internet connection has been problematic as China appears to block some sites and limit bandwith on others so we cannot get on facebook at all and accessing by blog site has been a problem. I hope this post makes it out there and that it appears normal as I am using a simplified version of the website which keeps loading with a bunch of errors on the page. Well to recap, we flew from Bangkok to Shenzhen a city with a population of 14 million near Hong Kong. There really where no tourist sights in Shenzhen but we did spend the better part of the day trying to find a contemporary art museum which we eventually suceeded in locating. That evening we caught another flight to Guilin. After spending the night we headed to Yangshuo, a very popular tourist destination known for its spectacular karst scenery also of special interest to us Yangshuo is the main rock climbing area in China. We took a cab to a pier in the town of Yangdi where we took a bamboo boat for 24km along the Li river. This particular stretch is considered to be one of the most scenic places in China and it is even represented on the back of the 20 Yuan bill. We eventually made it to Yangshuo and found our hotel. The following day we went climbing. It was spectacular, the climbing was really fun and you couldn’t ask for a more beautful setting. We climbed several hard routes and I was able again to lead a fairly hard 5.10. After climbing we went swimming in the Li River where we got to jump off a bridge into the watar among the throngs of Chinese tourists making the trip down the river in bamboo boats. Yesterday we went mountain biking. We headed out of town and into the villages. All in all we rode over 30 miles, got lost, got rained on and generaly had a great day. China so far has been quite a shock especially after coming from very tourist friendly SE Asia. Ithas been a bit more difficult getting around and the language barrier has been more of an issue. One other issue has been that the most popular destinations have been packed with tourists, there seems to be a rule in China called the 80/20 road which basically states that 80% of the tourists will be in 20% of the places. Unfortunatly these sites are the easiest for a forigner to visit as independent travel is fairly difficult because the bulk of Chinese tourism is based around group tours. Today we are headed back to Guilin to catch a night train to Kunming where we will hopefully be able to buy an onward ticket for the following evening to Dali or Lijang. Time is fairly tight and China is a huge country so we will be spending most of the next three weeks traveling. At first I was a bit upset about this but then I thought about what one of my favorite travel writers, Paul Theroux, does in that he travels just for the sake of travel and I am sure everyone has also heard the saying “It is not the destination but the journey that really matters”. With that said and several 24 hour plus train rides ahead of us we have adjusted our focus from visiting city after city to one of just moving and watch the scenery and life in this enormous land pass by. I am not sure where or when we will settle into a hotel again and what kind of internet access will be available as we head west into the mountains but I will post again as time allows.




One response

18 07 2010

Hi Andrew and Justya, So glad to here you are both in China and no problems getting around so far. Samantha Brown is doing an eight week tour of SE Asia and we are recording it for you and today was also Hawaii national parks and I am recording that for you also. The travel sounds like a nice change of pace for awhile. I hope you can make frequent stops to explore.
All is well here. We are planning to stop by your house tomorrow and check things out. Had very big storms last night. We are expecting our Canadian friends and it has taken down the humidity if not the heat
There is a card here from Howard and his wife and I assume it is a birth announcement. Don’t know if he is in thouch with you so thought you would like to know.
Take care, Love to you both …..M.D.M.

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