A China Travel Holiday Special... MEET THE GROOMS! Episode 13: A moonlighting driver and a dragon's back

Culture | by Aimee Groom
Posted: February 11th, 2011 | Updated: February 11th, 2011 | Comments
[showtime] (Click image to view slideshow) The intrepid Aimee Groom (aka Daughter From Hell) is back from her own travels in Europe but the story continues as we MEET THE GROOMS! Think of it as China Travel Reality TV holiday special (without the TV). So, without further ado, please Meet John and Lesley Groom, the backpackers with a bus pass. In December 2008, this adventurous pair of Shanghai, Zhejiang, Anhui, Taiwan, Fujian, Guizhou and Jiangsu. >>> Huangshan, anhui Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2009 03:27:10 +0000 Subject: Travels in China cont'd Next morning was controversial. We went to spend half an hour seeing the Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge and the village.  They wanted £12 for the two of us to go into the village. This was twice as much as we had paid for our accommodation the previous night and in any event we had walked over the bridge the evening before for free! We refused to pay and hatched two cunning plans. Firstly to get in by another set of steps, but were seen by the security man. Secondly we then tried crossing another bridge and approaching from the other side of the river. The security man spotted us again. Westerners stick out like a sore thumb here. There was one last chance down a side road but DFH said that if you get caught three times they execute you. Whilst being British we would have risked this, it did not seem fair to our readers so we went back to the hotel. There we found out that Mr. Tao our taxi driver had been 'moonlighting'. As we arrived he drove up with a car load of Chinese tourists!  FCUK was very cross with him. We then drove to Longsheng bound for Ping'An and the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces. This was uneventful except that there was not a pig to be seen anywhere. The Dong had seen to that. (Continued after the jump... ) On a random note, something you see everywhere here are basketball courts.  It is very popular here and when there are games the whole village turns out to watch. As usual DFH & FCUK chose the accommodation at the top of the hill but we were able to employ two Dong bag women to carry our bags up. Mind you the view from our room is amazing. After a big conference we had decided that after a walk through the rice terraces tomorrow morning we would go in the taxi to Yangshuo, dropping DFH & FCUK off at Guilin Airport on the way.  Then us olds would have to cope for a couple of weeks on our own. So we successfully dropped them off in Guilin for them to fly back to Shanghai.  Immediately after we had done so we lost our only means of communication with Mr. Tao and the taxi engine started to misfire. We feared the worst especially as we had booked him to take us to the airport in a couple of days.  However, miraculously the car put itself right and we arrived safely. Yangshuo is not typical of China. The Li River and karst hill scenery is fantastic but since the backpackers first discovered it, it has become very commercial but it's still great to chill out. First night ordered bean sprouts. "Sorry not got any." "This is China?" "Yes." "... and you don't have bean sprouts?" "No!" We understand it's cold and snowing at home. Here life is only marginally better. Who wants to go out on a bike ride in the sun in shirtsleeves through what is arguably the best scenery in the world? The highlight of the cycle ride was when John was in front and braked suddenly causing Lesley to skid on a huge pile of water buffalo shit. She survived. One thought. England is really lucky to have Polish plumbers. They could have had Chinese ones!  It is amazing. How can a country that is able to control water and irrigate huge areas of rice terraces for hundreds of years with nothing more than bamboo not be able to push a few plastic pipes together so that bathrooms don't flood?! One serious problem. We have run out of drinking chocolate! A prolonged search of every supermarket in Yangshuo produced only powdered milk for senior citizens, but no drinking chocolate so we are having to suffer. Another pleasant but uneventful bike ride. Tomorrow we fly to Nanjing.
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