The charms of Yángshuò are very accessible, the river Li flowing through karst towers, temples strewn about, the China of our imagination. There are as many electric scooters as forward looking cities elsewhere would dream to have, restaurant scraps are collected for composting, the people are friendly and the vegetation lush.
There is a lot of pressure on this picturesque town as dozens of tour boats float down the river in a daily rhythm and a constant flow of buses bring more of us – tourists that is. Mostly as part of organized package tours. Restaurants, shops and hotels have a lot of unused capacity at the moment, the floodgates must be about to open.
But no worries, a stroll away from the well worn Xi Jie will reveal plenty exotic sights to Euro-American eyes. Food can be had very fresh, pick your red snapper from the tank while it is still swimming, take the feathered friend home for dinner, choose your own vegetables for the stir fry, snales, frogs, eels, you know they are fresh because they are squiggling. This knowing your food and where it comes from is welcome and romantic until you hear the faint barking from behind the meat counter and take a closer look at the butchered parts on display. Just the motivation we needed to learn the Chinese characters and Mandarin words for beef, chicken and pork.
Cell towers, WiFi and the Internets are everywhere. That is a good part of the internet … blogging platforms such as posterous are not accessible, in other words, we can’t access our own crankygerman.com. We are posting this via email, hopefully it looks good.