I had planned to write to you all last week, but ended up in a grief-filled haze for a few days. Suffice it to say that our little household found the past week hard, as I’m sure many of you found it too.
Always tying things back to tales of my language wins and mishaps, I’ll say that I knew I was experiencing more than just disappointment after that election when I realized that I was not speaking Chinese to anyone. After finally venturing outside on Thursday, I got through lunch and errands before realizing that I was just using English. Of course, I was still polite, but my usual “every interaction is an opportunity to practice” mentality was dead for a few days.
The thing that won the prize for cheering me up the most this week is this letter written by Leslie Knope of Parks and Rec.
Googling “funny cat wakes up human” and “sleeping puppies” is also a good way to cheer yourself up.
So now I’ll turn to…
Our beautiful, peaceful, out-doorsy, finally fall-weather trip to Yangshuo, China this weekend. There’s a new high-speed train that cuts down the trip to a couple hours (plus metro, buses, taxis, etc. to actually get to/from the stations but who’s counting?) so we decided to spend the weekend there. It’s a largely rural area of farmland, rice terraces, and mystical “karst” mountains that rise up out of the mist. One of my favorite parts was the touristy but laid-back Yangshuo Town, which had a lot of lovely little shops selling handmade items like beautiful woven, wool scarves, calligraphy paintings, and jewelry.
One of our more memorable activities was climbing 800 steep steps up to Moon Hill. After gasping and pulling ourselves up by sheer force of will and desire for a good view, we were greeted at the top by two local women, aged 80+, offering various drinks and touristy things. Their cheerful and insistent “beer?” “postcard?” “coke?” as they waved their wares in tourists’ faces was quite entertaining to watch. They must hike up and down Moon Hill every day.
As usual, we had a few “only in China” moments including seeing a grown woman aged ~20 nonchalantly drinking out of a baby bottle while walking with friends, multiple street vendors selling what was apparently a CD with 600+ songs on it… yet all these disparate vendors only played the same one song on repeat, and this wedding photo shoot we happened to catch near our hotel. Yes, that’s a camel.
And now more pictures of our wonderful trip:
Moon Hill (before it almost killed us with 800 steps)
Till next time.