19.03.2011 - 20.03.2011 5 °C
And now I shall lay forth the events of the past weekend I suppose.
This past weekend we got on a bus and kept changing until we eventually made it to our destination of Jianshui (建水) well may I say it was pretty damn cool. Arriving there we looked at the crowded, dusty and bustling tarmac street with dismay. Lonely Planet! How could you disappoint us so? After all you had promised; the mystery, the awe, and the picturesque streets! Lonely Planet, you make us inwardly weep so…. Or so we thought. Meander down the road for a kilometre or so and you reach this massive round-about with nothing less than a Ming dynasty tower in the centre! Hurrah! Our guide had finally delivered something of substance! (Even if it was covered in scaffolding and shade-cloth for restorations).
Following the rather terrible map in our book of books we wandered up the main street “Hallo” followed us up the road with every second and third person we passed, promise two fulfilled as prophesised by the Lonely Planet. We could not find a single hotel/hostel recommended in the book, settling for one where the staff seemed friendly and the lobby clean and welcoming, what more could you want? It was quite hilarious attempting to book a room for the night, initially they thought we meant we wanted a room with a double bed, not a double room. O.o but after all that was all cleared up it was sweet as bro! $3.33 room anyone? (Bloody brilliant).
Well exploring Jianshui on the evening when the moon was closest to the Earth was absolutely AMAZING! (as Jianshui has little to no street lamps and it was a clear night with a full moon) We went and got some dinner, yummmmmo may I say, the mushies here are SICK! Go Yunnan and it's famous mushrooms. mmmmm...... 'shrooms...... ;P followed up by "apple pie" more like apple pancake (should have known better, it being a tapenaki resturant and all oops.
Wanted to go see the Zhu Mansion, (the gardens are classical Ming (?) Dynasty and supposed to be exquisite) but alas, when we got there we were greeted by strange looks (white girl speaking mando and girl of Chinese appearence saying not a word) and "meiyou piao" or for you who speak no Chinese, no tickets left. Well that sucked balls may I say. But oh well, we took our pancakes and sat on the steps of the scaffolded tower and watched Jianshui pass us by as the sky turned from late twilight to pitch black and brilliant, inky blue.
Well the next day..... omg frigging amazing. It is all I can say I'm afraid.
Checked out of the hotel at about 8:30am and made our way to the bus station, buying some absolutely fab baozi (stuffed bread dumplings) on the way. Got on the bus to some unknown place, heading for the Swallow's Caves about 22km out of Jianshui.
The bus was slightly hilarious, got on and said to the conductor, can you tell us where to get off for the caves (as there are no bus stops in China apart from the stations), so got on and 30mins later the bus pulled over on the side of the highway and the conductor gestured broadly to the other side of the 6 lane highway and closed the door, dumping us on the side of the highway with little clue of where to go.
Well may I say; Thank God for the kindly kids that seemed to be on a double date. Sorry guys from killing the date but THANK YOU for being so kind!!! We never would have got there with out you. So trampsing through the vegetable feilds along a dirt road, with absolutely exquisite scenery (see the photos, I kid you not!) any how, through the fields and down to the toll gate and into a mini bus to the caves. Tally Ho!! Standing in the reception area of the caves, awkward as all hell I will have you know, they with bare minimal English and my shoddy Chinese, quite an amusing set I may say..... they got us tickets and let us tag along on their guided tour (so nice of them, feel really bad for intruding on their potentially romantic get away, sorry guys!) Didn't even get their names. :S Felt so rude.
Down into the caves; I can only quote my students when I told them what we got up to on the weekend "Waaaaa......." The mouth of the cave was the height of a small block of flats. So amazing just stood there in awe. 83million years of what was so unexplainable, (can I use the phrase "visual rape"? it was that much of a shock/amazement I swear, that is the best I can describe it). 2.5hrs through the caves, sooooo many stairs..... legs didn't know what had hit them. But omg.... amazing....... please see the pics, actually even the pics don't do the caves justice.
Dragon boats back anyone?? Soooo good......
The bus home was not much, fell asleep on a random's shoulder. Got home to Eshan at about 5:30pm with a bunch of students on the bus from Yuxi which also dropped us on the side of the highway (loving the highway drops).
See you after this weekend people, I'm off to a wedding. XD
can I just mention, the weather went back up to 25-29 degC for the week, then this morning it dropped BACK to bloody 4 degC. :S