Posted by: thoughtfulnomad | August 30, 2010

Yangshuo and Beer Fish

Yangshuo is awesome. Before I came I knew I was going to like it because of what I had been told about the city, so I went ahead and planned to stay here for about a week. It’s the perfect way to end my month in China. The city is on the edge of the Li river and in the middle of tons of limestone mountains. The town is definitely touristy, there’s no going around that, but it’s so much different from all of the other tourist cities. It’s so much more laid back and relaxed, at least by Chinese standards. There are tons of cafes, places to rent bikes, a giant fruit and vegetable market, and lots of sun…aka no pollution haze. Yesterday I met up with a girl staying at my hostel and we decided to rent bikes and ride to a place called moon hill. It’s a hill/mountain that has a big hole in the top that looks like a half-moon. It took about an hour to bike there because we ended up taking a few wrong turns, about 30 – 40 minutes to climb a path of stairs all the way to the top, and then about 45 minutes to bike back. The view from the top was really cool and the hill itself really did look like it had a half moon cut out of it. After getting back we decided to lock our bikes up next to the river and go for a swim. There were a few Chinese girls about 10 years old who were swimming near us and we all ended up having a splashing war. It turned out to be a ton of fun..the river was the perfect temperature and you could surprisingly see all the way to the bottom because the water was so clear. Today I got up and had breakfast on the roof looking out over the river and mountains. A couple of people from Israel were up there making Turkish coffee with a portable mini stove and let me try some…it was actually very good. After breakfast and coffee I decided to go for a walk to a park that I had passed by. There is a hill in the middle of it with a pagoda looking thing at the top that I had seen, so I decide to find a way to get to the top. It turned out to be the perfect point to see the entire city of Yangshuo spread out below me…there was also a Chinese fortune teller that everyone knows about who was hanging out at the top. I decided to pass up the opportunity to get my fortune told, though. I came back to the hostel after that and booked a tour to the “silver cave.” I normally don’t like to do tours, but the girl at reception looked scared for me when I said I wanted to bike there and also told me that you have to go with a tour because there are no normal buses that go there. I decided to take her advice and booked it for 2:30. A mini bus came and picked me up…I ended up being the only non-Chinese person at the cave that day, which I’m assuming is not unusual. We were given a tour guide and were supposed to stay with the group, but after about 5 minutes of listening to Chinese and being packed into the big group I decided to just walk ahead and explore it on my own. It got a little creepy a few times because the tour guide operated the lights and only turned them on when the group arrived at each point of interest, so a lot of the tunnels were pitch black. For the most part, though, there were dim lights scattered along the path. I think it was more fun like that anyways. The cave itself was actually really amazing. It was huge…I don’t even know how many stories high some parts of it were, but the walking path through it was about 2km. I enjoyed it, but would have liked to have known what the guide was saying about a lot of it. I just got back a few hours ago and decided to go out to eat and try “beer fish,” which is a dish that’s specific to Yangshuo. I’m not sure what type of fish it is, but it’s caught in the Li river and is cooked with local beer. The dish wasn’t too bad, but it was definitely not like anything I’ve had before. The flavor was good; it didn’t taste anything like beer, and I honestly don’t know how to describe the taste, but it was good. The interesting part (and I snuck a peek and watched as the cook prepared this) was that a whole fish was taken, cut up into about 1/2 inch slices from tail to head, and then cooked. Nothing was skinned or de-boned or anything like that. I had to peel off the skin before I ate it…I ate one piece just whole and the skin just wasn’t really my thing. The fish came in a bowl and wasn’t necessarily in a soup, but there was a couple of inches of a type of broth/sauce at the bottom of the bowl. I got to the very bottom of it, fished around with my chopsticks a little bit (no pun intended), and found a rather unappetizing surprise…

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  1. Well, at least you lived to tell the tale of the tail! Missed my humor-right?!?!?!

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