Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yangshuo: Day Two

Day two will definitely be known within our group as "mud cave day." You'll see a little bit more about it in a second.

It was another fairly long bike trip out to the mud cave. We passed by all sorts of other tourist attractions, including other mud caves that used ostentatious billboards to claim their right as the only authentic mud caves around. It was really bizarre, the signs had proclamations like "BEWARE OF FALSE MUD CAVES! HERE ARE THE SEVEN SIGNS OF A TRUE MUD CAVE!" followed by a bunch of nonsense. What I'm confused about is, is it really a problem to be in a "fake" mud cave? Doesn't any cave with some mud in it count? Anyway, our group leader told us that the places with those billboards were the actual fakes, and that we were going to the "authentic" mud cave. Here's some other kind of tourist thing on the way:
And "Moon Hill," which is supposed to look like different stages of the moon depending on your viewing angle:

And some hot air ballooning! Check out these lucky ducks in the hot air balloon - I'm so jealous...
Ok, so here we go into the mud cave! We were told to wear "disposable" clothes, and you had to wear a hard hat, because there were some pretty narrow tunnels we had to squirm through, and lots of opportunities to bonk your head on something sharp. The resulting outfit is pretty odd:

Here's some "stalactits" as the wits among us called them. I believe another bon mot put forth was "cave boobs." You can imagine how many silly staged photos these things inspired.

After a fair amount of mildly difficult caving, made more painful by the fact that we all had our tender elbows and knees fully exposed, we reached the mud portion of the cave. This is basically just a huge, deep pit of smooth, wonderful mud that you roll around in until your guide makes you leave. This activity made us all basically regress to kindergarten. It's supposed to be good for your skin, too.
Unsuprisingly, Andy revelled in being such a total mud monster. It took us all about half an hour to wash most of the mud off.

In an amazing bit of foresight, Andy got a big haircut and shave the day before, so that the mud wouldn't stick in his beard so much. I find the picture that he took of this procedure oddly disquieting.

The intelligent people among us went swimming in the river to get the rest of the mud off. Of course, I disposed of my disposable outfit at the mud cave, leaving me nothing to swim in. Therefore, Andy appointed me photographer and commissioned pictures of himself jumping off the bridge.

So here's some random Yangshuo pictures, too. Spider Man Climbing not only has a pretty funny name, but it also boasts a huge mural of Jesus!
This is some kind of liquor with a king cobra BITING A SCORPION suspended in it. Pretty awesome. A lot of our friends did shots of "snake oil" (liquor with a dead snake in it), but I abstained.
There were a lot of t-shirt shops with bizarrely hateful people painted on the shirts, such as Hitler. (Don't the Chinese hate Hitler, too? They were on our side, but I guess they had a lot more to complain about from the Japanese than the Germans). This stylish dude is sporting an Osama Bin Laden t-shirt.

What makes this shirt even better (better?) is that on the back, there's a picture of this man, wearing the Osama shirt, and smoking a cigar! The picture of taste.

And to counterbalance that, a nice little Yangshuo scene:

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