Saturday, September 29, 2012

Grantchester Meadows

This morning we somewhat reluctantly checked out of Yangshuo Village Inn and into its bigger sister hotel, Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. But if the former was great, the latter is perfect, sandwiched between a karst cliff and the Yulong River... which we wasted no time in rafting down. But this was no white-water adventure; instead a sedate punt à la Oxbridge. Liz even had a straw hat. Back at the hotel, the gentle music playing in the lounge even included Roger Waters' ode to lazy summer days by the River Cam, 'Grantchester Meadows' from Ummagumma. Someone knew their stuff.   
It's a small world. Staying in the same hotel are a British family from the Alyssa & Naomi's school, and we met another Brit family from Hong Kong who know our friend KC (they work for the same company). This often happens. I remember queuing up for the loos in a campsite in Brittany in the 70s and my teacher being four in front; or ten years ago when we first visited Beijing, bumping into some friends in Tiananmen Square.
Anyway, in the evening we went - without newly found friends - into Yangshuo town which 20 years ago was visited only by a few adventurous backpackers but is now full of (mainly Chinese) tourists. Its main pedestrianised street, Xilu, is a riot of cafes and tourist shops but it's pleasant enough. At times it was quite otherworldly, as the karst hills which loom over the town take on the appearance of darkened giants.  

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