Steve's China Blog

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

May holiday - Part 1, Shenzhen and Yangshuo

The day before the May holiday I worked until around 9:00pm and started packing for my trip after I got home that night. I finished packing the next morning when I woke up, and flew out of Dalian to Shenzhen in the early afternoon. Shenzhen use to be a small fishing village, but with its proximity to both Hong Kong and Macau it has had incredible growth in the last 30 years. It is currently the fastest growing city in China, and probably the world.

After landing in Shenzhen I caught a taxi to the Kempinski Hotel where I had booked a room. The room and service there were very nice, but there is no Paulaner's German restaurant, like the one in Dalian. Phyllis came by after I got settled in and we had a snack in the lounge before heading out to downtown. It turns out that my friend Jackie was in Shenzhen to attend a friend's wedding and we had arranged for all of us to meet at McCawley's Irish Pub. Phyllis and I got there first, and sampled some nachos and some amber and dark beers before the band started. The band was from the Philippines and was really rocking. Jackie showed up a little later with her boyfriend and a couple of friends of hers who were also in town for the wedding. It was so great to be all together again!

The next day Phyllis came by early and we headed down to the place to catch the bus to Yangshuo. The bus looked pretty new and was comfortable. The drive to Yangshuo took a little over 10 hours, and I think we slept most of the way... or it seemed that way. Along the way we travelled over everything from nicely maintained expressways to deteriorating gravel roads. Most of the trip seemed to be on two lane roads and a lot of the drivers on these roads did not seem to know how to pass other cars properly, so it seemed we were going to have a head-on collision every few minutes. There were all sorts of sights to see too... from little farming communities to big cities. We did not stop for lunch or dinner and ate snacks; such as dried beef, raisins, chips, cookies, etc...

When we got to Yangshuo I was starving, but we had to check into our hotel first. We stayed at the Morning Sun Hotel which is located between some of the most busy streets in Yangshuo.

After we checked in we headed out to get some dinner and went to a restaurant that served Beer Fish, which is a local specialty. I do not know if it had any beer in it, but it was really good!

Yangshuo is a small town. Not many locals and a lot of tourists. During the day there not many people on the streets since most of the tourists are out seeing the sights or recovering from the night before. During the night it is a big party.

There are lots of pubs and restaurants and a lot of them stay open until dawn. Our hotel was pretty nice and clean, but our room overlooked the street, so it was kind of noisy all of the time.

On Thursday we woke up early and after a quick breakfast we went to a place to rent a bike. Phyllis really wanted to ride on a bicycle built for two, so we got one of those. It had been awhile since I had ridden a bicycle, and I had never ridden on one of the two person bicycles and the steering was really loose too, so it took a little bit of getting use to. The crazy Chinese traffic all around us did not help either.

Anyways, we made our way along the Yu Long River for a few hours heading north, and eventually reached a spot where we loaded onto a bamboo river raft and headed back south to some scenic spots north of town.

The ride along the river on the raft was wonderful. After the raft ride we visited a few scenic spots.

After looking at some sights there we rode back to town and had some lunch. We decided to go try a place I had read about called the Red Star Express which was suppose to have good burritos and enchiladas. Actually, there were a lot of places that had burritos, but this place had the best that we tried. The enchiladas were excellent too.

After lunch we headed out to a little town near the Li River where we caught a river boat up along the Li River and back down again.

The scenery here is wonderful, and if you look at the back of a 20 Yuan note you can see a picture of it.

After we got back to town we went to a restaurant right next to our hotel called 7th Heaven. The owner of the place was from Canada and his wife is from China. I had the sirloin steak and Phyllis, having never had pita bread before, tried the chicken salad in pita bread. Phyllis also had never tried hummus before, but it was on the menu and the owner was happy to give her a sample. I had some too... it was very good.

After dinner we found a reggae bar called Kaya that was pretty nice and laid back. Not too crowded or loud. At one point I noticed a picture of Che that could be seen no matter where we sat, so I asked the lady working there if they could cover it up or something. When she asked why I said I did not want to see a picture of a mass-murderer. They were happy to cover it up for me with another poster and said they did not know why he was popular in China... some government type said he was a hero, but never told them why.


  • Hey Steve, great photos. I'm envious of all the Mexican food you stumble your way into...

    As for Che, I think he's a man that started off having all the right intentions, but as violence tends to do, was twisted by his ambitions and others' resistance to them. Much like Mao really.

    By Anonymous The Humanaught, at 11:20 AM  

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