The Dream of the Red Chamber is the Chinese name of the Mountain Nest hotel where we stayed for our three nights in Yangshuo. It’s a boutique style hotel of eleven rooms spread over five floors. We stayed in the family suite (two separate rooms, one bathroom-yikes!) on the fifth floor which is where the restaurant is located. One floor up is the outdoor deck with its amazing views. I can’t say enough good things about this hotel, from the outstanding service, to the food. If you ever go to Yangshuo, just stay there!
Our first night’s activity was attending the famous outdoor show by the Li River called Impression Sanjie Liu and it’s based on a much beloved story made into a movie in 1961. It incorporates the river into the performance. The show is divided into seven parts but as nothing is in English, we had no real idea of the story. It was just a visual and auditory treat for the senses. This is one of those times when a loaded “vape” would have come in handy, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
The next day was a shopping day in Yangshuo. It’s a fairly small town with several shopping areas, the main one being West Street. It’s block after block of small shops and eateries. We spent the entire day just wandering around and buying presents for various people. We went back to the Mountain Nest and enjoyed dinner on their fifth floor restaurant about ten feet from our room.
The next day was our semi-fateful bicycle outing. The plan was to bicycle quite a distance from the Mountain Nest down into the valley, traversing the Yulong River which is a tributary of the Li River. At the end of our bicycling, we would then take a bamboo raft back to meet the bikes which were to have been picked up where we dropped them off. The inauspicous start of our bicycling was a clue to the difficulties that lie ahead. We were given vague verbal directions and a map as to how to proceed down into the valley and promptly got confused and returned to the hotel in the first 15 minutes, where we assured to continue in the direction we were going and it would be obvious once we started down into the valley. That actually turned out to be the case. But as we traversed for a distance along the river going through various small towns, we got confused and overshot a turnoff but stopped at an inn where we got further directions. We then crossed a bridge and entered a small village but then got completely confused and at that point we called the hotel and we were again reassured we were where we needed to be.
It was in this village that Nancy took her last and most serious spill and at first, it seemed she may have been busted up pretty badly but she tried to soldier on for a bit. However, she was pretty banged up and as we were still at least 30 minutes away from the spot to catch the raft going back, we decided to turn around and bicycle back to the Mountain Nest. Still, as you can see from the photos, it was an amazing journey.
That evening, we went back to town to have dinner. For some odd reason, there were a few German style bistros (advertised as such, anyway) and we enjoyed our fake German repast overlooking West street from a second floor balcony table. What’s worse than German cuisine? Fake German cuisine, one may opine. The wurst was yet to come.
The next morning, we took a van back to Guilin which was a much shorter trip than the river boat cruise. Along the way, I was able to follow a live blog of the last few innings of game seven of the World Series. We missed watching a real “barn burner” but it was fun to follow along. How about those Cubbies?
We went back to the Golden Oriole Hotel in Guilin. Nancy and Sophie were pretty wiped out so I went out in search of take-out food to bring back to our rooms. We then went up to the roof top deck which had some amazing views as it was opposite Elephant Hill, a landmark in Guilin. The next morning, way, way too early, we arose to catch a ride to the airport for the trip back to Beijing.
Our days traveling together were a complete sucess (give or take a bicycle fall or two). When you think of all of the things that could go awry: missed connections, lost luggage or passports, food poisoning, serious injury, weather issues, internicine discord, missing reservations, Donald Trump, etc, etc, the stars were clearly aligned in our favor. We still had some more sightseeing in Beijing, capped off with one of the best dinners I’ve ever had.