By the end of the meal, the rain had stopped and we got back on the bikes:
The scenery, naturally, was splendid:
At one point, we floated past the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, and our room with a balcony:
Continuing down the river and past a couple having wedding photos taken along the riverside:
The ride took almost 90 minutes in total, and ended where we had parked our bikes. Before returning them to the inn, my wife stopped to buy some grilled fish:
Which in Yangshuo was a necessity, as the town's main drag, Xijie 西街, was cacophonous. Back in the 1980's, Yangshuo was a quiet backwater that had the fortune to be "discovered" by young Western backpackers cutting a Chinese path on the Banana Pancake trail. Many fell in love with the area and never left, opening up bars, cafes, inns and restaurants, while local entrepreneurs rushed to cater to the visitors' tastes (such as Western-style breakfasts, for which I was very grateful). Before long, as the Chinese economy took off, with affluence affecting leisure time trends, the Chinese also started coming in droves. The result is that Yangshuo is far removed from being an idyllic rural Chinese backwater. Instead, Xijie teems with tourists, Chinese and non-Chinese, walking past endless souvenir shops, eateries, and even bars and discos pumping out horrible Chinese dance music. Touts proliferate to the extent that the weary tourist ceases to be polite when declining their sales offers. English is widely-spoken, which can of great help to the non-Mandarin speaking visitor but provides little defense against the hawkers and vendors. Still, Yangshuo's atmosphere can be fun, and the setting, surrounded by tall spires lit up at night by white spotlights, adds to the mood:
For my daughter, it was all great fun, especially when she ran into her classmate yet again. It's a small world in China:
Next up: Going up the country on two wheels.