Monday, July 17, 2006 at 10:35 PM |
One of the things I loved best about living in Jasper was waking up in the mornings and seeing the mountains outside of my windows.

The mountains of Yangshou are completely different. It would be like comparing apples to oranges. They are high, jagged peaks, completely covered in trees and some have houses built into the face of the cliffs or on top of them. There are hundreds of these mountains, some with clouds clutching to the faces, and it's impossible not to stop and stare in awe every five minutes.

It's a paradise. One of the few I've found in the world.

Yangshou creates a massive difference on my impression of China so far. Beijing and Chengdu are in a perpetual state of destruction and creation. A wrecked building can stand beside a brand new skyscraper. The pollution chokes you and we never saw clear blue sky until we broke through the clouds on plane trips.

It's been raining here, but it's possible to take a deep, fresh breath and this morning, for the first time in China, we can see the sun and sky easily. We've seen the sun before, but it looked like an angry red-orange dot in the sky.

We've been busy here. Catherine got to pet a panda, I've gotten to talk with cab drivers, and yesterday, after meeting up with David (hard to believe it's been more than a year, but within a minute it felt like he hadn't been gone at all), we rented scooters and drove through the countryside.

It was fantastic. David and his girlfriend, Ting Ting, managed to come to a full stop in a muddy path only to tip over a second later. I helped by taking a picture. Catherine and I had our own scooters as well and managed to avoid making such a mistake.

Later that afternoon we went to a water cave. Huge, deep, and with many places to crouch and scrape along, it ends with a mud bath. We have some pictures of that as well, though someone else took those photos. We even went down a slide. Ting Ting refused to take off her miner's helmet because she didn't want her hair to get dirty.

On the drive back it rained still. David got a flat in town and had to push his scooter the rest of the way while Ting Ting rode with me. Scooter lady didn't look happy, but only charged us $3 for the wrecked tire.

Good times.

Soon we'll leave Yangshou, but I don't really want to. It has been the past part of the trip so far. Maybe we'll go to Nanjing next, maybe to Shanghai. That's the great thing about having the freedom to travel and have fun. David will be with us, and all of his luggage, so that could dampen things, but I doubt it will very much.

All of you should wish you were here. It's incredible.
Posted by Parallel

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