I woke up the next morning to a roommate apologizing over any potential disturbances caused by her late arrival. We had chatted briefly on WeChat before her arrival, and I assured her again it was no problem. Ended up being too deep in my sleep to notice, anyway.
By 8 a.m., it was finally time to join the rest of the Travelers Society group! We walked together to Lucy’s for breakfast and were the first ones to arrive but others soon trickled in. I saw on my WeChat moments that our tour guide had posted a picture of the sunrise from a few hours ago. Long night for him.
Lucy’s is a restaurant on the first floor but also is a hotel, which made me wonder why we didn’t stay there. Probably not enough rooms for the 17 of us. Anyway, the breakfast menu is very typical of the Western breakfast served in hotels/hostels in China. Similar to the Hangzhou hostel I stayed in, breakfast includes toast, jam, eggs, and—this is key—a slice or two of tomato and/or cucumber. But at Lucy’s, there’s slightly more variety, with sets including the “American Breakfast.” I ordered what was called the “Fitness Breakfast,” because I mainly wanted the yogurt and muesli, along with tea, juice, eggs, toast, and fresh fruit. Definitely enjoyed it. I ordered it our second morning, too 🙂
Soon, we walked toward West Street to pick up our bikes and follow the guide through the mountains and toward Yulong River for bamboo rafting!
Bamboo rafting was fun just because there was the occasional dip, which meant that we had to lift our feet to avoid getting wet as we slid down the small steps in the river.
Afterward, we returned to the hotel and had time to take a shower and get lunch before meeting again to go to Xingping village, home to the famous view that’s on the 20-yuan note. If you ask me, the scene isn’t that great or even exactly like the one on the note. Vietnam’s Halong Bay has better views 😛
We walked a lot throughout the afternoon, so we were all already famished by the time we reached the home of a local family who would serve us their home-cooked dinner. But we were still too early, so we just took a brief watermelon break (literally, huge watermelon brought out and cut on a wooden table), before we went to hike an extra hour before we could actually return for dinner.
Now about that hike…
We were told we wouldn’t be doing any serious hiking or walking after the biking, so I had changed into my Havaianas flip flops. But this impromptu hike was literally the most serious hike I’ve ever done, definitely beating out Dragon’s Back in Hong Kong, as we found ourselves walking through tall grass and hopping from stone to stone down steep slopes—everyone was amazed at how I didn’t break a bone or otherwise get seriously harmed. While there were slight slips of the foot, I miraculously managed not to twist an ankle. When others noted my unfortunate choice of footwear, I played it off, of course, simply saying it required a hell of a lot of concentration. While I wasn’t the only one to not wear closed-toe shoes, I was the only one with flip flops to stay in front of the pack. I guess not wanting to come off as weak could have been my weakness if I hadn’t been as lucky.
You can probably get an idea of what I have to say regarding Travelers Society, mainly regarding poor planning that leads to deplorably insufficient communication and…well, more on that soon.
Next up: Hiking the picturesque Longji rice terraces!