Saturday, May 23, 2009

Riding The Sanlunche

When we arrived at the small town of Xingping, our float down the Li River was over. We still had to get to our final destination of Yangshuo, however. This is how the journey went...

We said goodbye to PVC, and scampered up the river bank, luggage in hand. Arriving at the top, there were plenty of sanlunche (three-wheeled vehicles) waiting, and so we hopped on to make the short trip into Xingping proper.

Given that it had just rained, the road was muddy...Not to mention really narrow. At one point, a military vehicle approached from the other direction, and we had to squeeze over to the side. I was waiting for the whole cliff to collapse under our weight, but somehow the mud held, and we were soon enjoying a meal served to us by a local family, complete with a taste of their own homemade red wine. (I took a pass at buying any.)

It was then off to find the bus that would carry us from Xingping to Yangshuo. The ayi's sole aim appeared to be to cram as many fares onto the bus as possible. Eventually, every single seat was filled, and so it appeared as if the time had come for us to depart. Wrong again, Ballas! Ayi kept finding additional passengers, whom she did not hesitate to welcome on board. Specifically, she pulled tiny plastic stools out from under a bunch of seats, placed them in the center aisle, and beckoned the new arrivals to take a load off. Even when there were no more stools to be had, ayi managed to add a few standing passengers to the mix...And, then, finally, off we went.

Once we pulled into the bus depot in Yangshuo, we still had one last task in front of us...Getting our luggage up the hill to our hotel, about half a mile away. With a little help from Wang Bin (who goes by Forrest in English), we managed to stow our bags on a little, old-fashioned sanlunche. Julie and Z jumped on the back and off they went.

As for Desi and me? It was onto the back of motoche (motorcycles). No, I don't have any pictures of this part of the journey! Desi reports, though, that she grabbed onto her driver so hard that her fingernails likely inflicted serious wounds on his abdomen.

And, no, we weren't wearing helmets for any of this...

~Steve

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