This morning we woke early again and got ready for a busy day. We had arranged yesterday to meet a lady called “wendy” at 8am. She would be our guide for the day; just one of the many women out on the street hounding people for guide services or rides on their bamboo boats. She was different, though, and spoke great English. Hired. So, we met her this morning and had a wonderful day; she was able to get us a discount on almost everything we did and took us off the beaten path through local towns to see the area.
We rented a scooter and all crammed on (wendy had her own) for our adventure. Bryan got the gist of driving combatingly and we were off! We drove on a dirt path for a while through rice patties and past water buffalo until we got to the Yulong river…a feeder to the huge Li river outside our hotel window. Wendy chatted with the bamboo boat guys and got us on one for cheaper than advertised. The boats were sketchy but super-fun. There were few other people on the river at the time, so it was very serene with the amazing karst hills, rice patties, and sound of frogs. The boat had to slide down some little dams on the way downstream which was fun. We got used to yelling, “legs up!”, since water just filled the whole raft until we floated again. Amazingly there were people with digital camera’s at all the dams; they would snap our picture and then we could stop on their rafts and check out the shot on their computer. We liked one of them, so they printed it and laminated it while we waited 5 minutes on the floating office. $2. It was crazy.
After our ride we got off and to our surprise spotted a camel! A local guy apparently owned this camel, and for super-cheap Zoe got her picture riding it. success. Our next adventure found us in a huge limstone cave: the Water Cave. It was chilly, but the draw was the mud bath which was even colder. We stripped down to our undies and braved the freezing mud. I even rode down the mud slide and floated in it. “good for skin”. Zoe was too cold. So she and Bryan didn’t play long. Afterward we hosed off in more cold water and were directed to the hot spring. So, cold and in our underware we stomped through a cave in flip flops to find, amazingly, a hot spring that cascaded down a mound and had created numerous pools. Boiling hot at the top, and lukewarm at the bottom. We found one in the middle and got warm. It was so great. Zoe was much happier in the hot water. Again, there were cameras and printed pictures, so we got a family shot.
The ride back to the parking area (and our guide) was funny, bumpy, and in a tiny “bus” that we would call a mini-mini-van. Lunch was next, so we scooted with Wendy to a local home that ran an outdoor restaurant for some fried rice and noodle. yum. After that we scooted around the countryside for the afternoon taking in the vistas, the hills and cliffs, the famous moon-shaped rock arch, and all the farmland. It was just a great day. Zoe fell asleep on the scooter back to Yangshuo. We paid Wendy who was indespendable (160RMB, or $20…with a big tip) and walked back to the hotel.
We got on some underwear since ours rode the back of the scooter drying for the afternoon and Zoe continued to nap. I decided to go get a cheap massage which was great. $8 for an hour isn’t bad! We then went out to dinner for the local fish specialty: beer fish, and it was great. Zoe really like it, too. We again ate at an outdoor restaurant and again attracted vendors and people who wanted pictures with Zoe. The food was awesome. My throat is still a bit sore but is getting better. We can’t believe it’s only day two!