Today we awoke to a foggy view of the Li River from our balcony. It was warm and wet and we were worried about getting our cash exchanged to Yuan. So, we had a shower and went down to ask about the nearest bank…it opened at 9.
This town is cool! There are lots of shops, outdoor vendors, bars, people on bikes, chickens in baskets, pigs in bags, and super nice people everywhere. We stopped in a pharmacy to get bug repellant; the mosquitos are killer. It sprinkled on our way to the bank, but let up. We were worried about our afternoon climbing adventure. There was no more rain the whole day, the fog cleared, and the sun came out.
After getting cash we wandered back to our hotel and explored the town. It’s quite tidy which surprised us a bit. The scenery is gorgeous. Huge limestone cliffs, forest, the rivers, and mountains. Its great. We got lunch at an outdoor cafe and got hounded by ladies selling books, postcards and rides on their bamboo rafts.
Later we met our climbing guide and followed him to the bus station where we got in a tiny van and waited until it was full – like really full – like every seat and space on the floor was occupied. It then dropped us across from the wine bottle cliff where we climbed the whole afternoon. It was wonderful. I climbed 6 times and Bryan went 5. The cliff had some great 5.8 – 5.9s for us; I even made it up a 100 ft 5-9+ (with one fall). The limestone was awesome to climb and the views from the top were great. The scene at the bottom was so different from climbing in the US. There was no ‘what gear do you have’ competition, or ‘what rating can you climb’. There were locals who were amazing and other Chinese tourists climbing in jeans. The vibe was just super chill and fun. Zoe had a blast playing at the base of the climb while Bryan and I took turns. Our guide, Ling, was great; he was from Spiderman climbing in town and it made everything so easy….included all the gear, transportation, and he belayed the whole time for us – all for about $30 each. awesome.
My throat has been a bit sore, so on the way home we again stopped at a pharmacy; all over the counter stuff is given out by a pharmacist which was helpful since he gave me a few options. I got a spray which tastes like an opened tea bag and lozenges which are like honey. We chilled out in the room for a couple hours reading. Bought some noodle bowls from a grocery store and used the tea pot in our room to make that for dinner. Zoe watched her Animal Alphabet show which we brought on a zip drive. I napped for a bit.
Now we are above West street on the balcony of a cafe with wifi. Zoe got a chocolate cake and I got a banana split for dessert. Bryan tried the local brew. It’s so bustling in this little road; shops, people, vendors, bars, lights, and a huge cliff lit up. It’s been an amazing first day.