Thursday, October 9, 2008

Yangshuo: Day Four

On day four, we decided to go white-water rafting. We were both pretty excited about this, cause we love kayaking and canoeing, but had never tackled a more adventurous form of water sports. We were a little late getting to the travel agency, and our guide made us follow him while he rode his scooter to the meeting place. That was a pretty brisk walk, but somehow Andy managed to snap a photo of him getting ready to glare at us for not going fast enough.
On the way to the rafts, there were all sorts of exciting, menacing photos of people going over huge waterfalls in their inflatable rafts. I was getting scared, but Andy was really excited about finally doing some real white water rafting. But when we finally got to the rafts...

We discovered the most bogus "white water rafting" imaginable. They made you wear hard hats and life vests, but gave you no oars? That seems like a bad sign. Yeah, basically they just dug this irrigation channel type thing, opened some kind of dam at the top of it, and sent you down this concrete chute. In between the "rapids," you sat in these huge bathtubs full of other suckers who paid for this "rafting." All the Americans looked pretty down in the mouth at the mouth of the "river," but the Chinese folks loved it. What an adventure!
Despite how disappointed we were at first, the ride was really a lot of fun. Given, it was NOTHING like white water rafting, a lot more like a more extreme version of Ragin' Rivers or whatever at Six Flags. As you can see in the following shots, though, I definitely enjoyed myself.
A lot of times when you were stuck in the bathtubs between the "rapids," it could be really hard to get to the next exciting part, since there were a ton of other rafts and lots of bizarre currents that could sweep you to the side. To solve this problem, Andy grabbed a big piece of bamboo and transformed himself into a gondolier. I even got him to sing some "O Sole Mio."
We headed back in to town after the surprisingly fun debacle of "white water rafting," where we found the culprit who was actually painting all of those Hitler and Bin Laden t-shirts.
Then we headed into this public park where you could climb little baby karsts, so that you didn't feel like such a loser for never climbing a karst the whole time you were in Yangshuo. Here's some kind of "glory to the people" statue in the park:
And a shot of us in a little pavilion halfway up the karst:

Of course, Andy and his new adventure buddy, Kelsey, could not be content to climb the baby karst that my new non-adventure buddy, Sasha, and I huffed and puffed all the way up. So they climbed out from the sanctioned path and discovered a new karst peak.
We took the sleeper bus back home to Shenzhen that night. They have two levels of beds, all of which are designed for midgets. Even I couldn't lay flat in them, so imagine how Andy felt. Our friend Kyle, pictured below, declared that it was just like a sleepover and gave us his best "Jonathan Taylor Thomas is so dreamy" grin.

That's it for Yangshuo! Now we're back teaching in Shenzhen. I've had all kinds of boring teaching trouble that I won't bother you with, but when something exciting happens, we'll be sure to post it.


Unknown said...

Hay guys! I just read your entire Chinese experience up until this point. Everything sounds great! You guys look good too! Your pictures really makes me miss China. I hope you continue to have super much fun!

Anonymous said...

I want to hear about your teaching troubles! Substitute teaching is the hardest thing I've ever done, and it was only 1 day at a time, and they spoke English! It must be SUPER hard with tiny Chinese speaking students every day!

Also, is it true they don't put diapers on their babies, and just put them in "split pants" and let them go wherever they are?