Posts tagged ‘Yangshuo’

Clean China

One of my first impressions in China was surprise at how unlittered it is compared to the other Asian countries I’ve been to. Not only do they have city cleaners who walk the streets sweeping but there are numerous garbage cans with a RECYCLING compartment. Every 10 meters there is a garbage can!

Just a few km outside Yangshuo are villages and farm fields. The houses in these villages are made of cement and have a modern style to them, very unlike the simple bamboo huts I’ve become accustomed to seeing in Cambodian rural villages.

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June 1, 2009 at 12:30 am 1 comment

Yangshuo

I recall an interesting passage in Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. The character, Bibi, wants to be a writer.

“I have the feeling my whole body is bursting with a desire to express itself. To speak. To say something. Sometimes I think I’ll go off my rocker and explode I get so keyed up…But sit me down in front of a piece of paper and I lose all my ideas. So I figure it must be a problem of technique…”

My first hours in Yangshuo produced a medley of emotions and thoughts and I wanted to record them all and share some… But as soon as I’d open my laptop all thoughts about Yangshuo would be replaced by emails, facebook, and all the links these connections generated.

I just updated my status on facebook: …IS DIGGING YANGSHUO!!!

Those are crazy Dean’s words and I use them with all my heart. It’s a great town. Its core reminds me of Khousan Rd in Thailand. Full of shops, noise, people (foreign and Chinese travelers), guest houses, restaurants, bicycles for rent, bars, discos. Unlike Khousan it’s clad in the most awesome scenery… peaky hills and mountains everywhere. There is a horde of opportunities to explore the countryside, go bamboo rafting and mountain climbing. Bangkok’s stifling heat is replaced by a comfortable cool. The only drawback is the foggy weather. At night all the streets in the area glow as everything is lit up and tourists file into the streets and cafes and one can hear new music every 10 meters.

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I have a friend here who I met for the first time in Thailand almost 9 months ago. I met him again in Vietnam 6 months ago. He’s in Yangshuo preparing to be an English teacher.

Yangshuo is full of English schools. The best one may be Zhuoyue English College. They have a couchsurfing profile asking for visitors to Yangshuo to volunteer at their college in exchange for lodging and food. I expected this school to be an informal affair but it’s not. The students are in their early 20s and come from all over China. They stay in the school dormitories while they study for 2 weeks – 6 months. But it goes beyond teaching English. Students form a community with each other and their foreign teachers. In a small town like Yangshuo – it’s possible.

The role of the volunteers is simply to provide conversation for 2 hours in the evening. I attended twice and had a very good time, discussing breasts, sub-health, linguistics… and drinking sweet ginger tea.

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May 29, 2009 at 7:45 pm Leave a comment


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