Friday, 7 November 2008

Umbrella? Watches? Massage? .... Banana?

We have reached Yangshou from Guangzhou and it's been quite a dramatic change.

The overnight train dropped us off at the Guilin train station at 7am and there we were to be scammed for the first time. And hopefully the last.

A kind man instructed us that the bus beside him was going to Yuanshou, took us up to the very back seats, gave us some friendly chat ("oh, you're from Sweden/Scotland, how nice") and then charged us Y50 for the ride (about 4 UK pounds). Ten minutes later, when the genuine driver of the bus came up to ask for our Y15 and shook his head at the bit of paper Mr Con Man had given us, we realised we'd been duped.

But this was only a short term blow. Yangshou is a backpackers dream. Jawdropping scenery, bohemian bars and restaurants and as many trekking paths, bike routes and river boats as one bearded traveller could possibly wish for.

Just a shame it's been raining constantly ever since we got here. Looking good for tomorrow though (Sat 8th Nov).

One thing to be mindful of is the haggling, you absolutely have to do it as I learned when we first arrived.

Y180 i was quoted for a nice pair of North Face light-fabric trousers. I suggested Y120. The lady in the shop suggested Y170. I stumbled and lost my confidence. Y170 it was and the lady stifled a mocking laugh. I was even harrassed on the street for a boat cruise while trying to put the trousers on (see picture).

But people here will try to sell you anything for any cost, and why not, it's how they get by. For example, what we heard this afternoon from a lady: "You want umbrella? Watch? We got watches? (*pause as we walked away*)...  banana?"

1 comment:

Stephen Glenn said...

As a philatelist I'm a bit upset about the current lack of actual stamps.

However, now I'm longing for my planned wee break out there.