Today was wet, drizzly and showery (or drizzly, showery and wet, as it is usually termed ). Before it got too wet we wandered the street next to the river. I t was relatively early and people were only beginning to set up their stalls. So we were only lightly hassled by foot-sellers. I think most other foreigners were out the night before, then hit the bars afterwards. We could hear them from our room. They sounded a bit like Gibbons at times (ooh, ooh, ooh, oooooh). And if the foreigners were out, so were people trying to sell them things.
The mist played havoc with photos so we mainly strolled. As the weather set in, we went back to he hostel for some reading/ writing and cups of tea. We headed out for a late pizza lunch (Very nice, homemade and all. The only thing was there was some Chinese sausage, which was a bit yuk, but removable), then back to the hostel.
Later, when it had stopped raining, Andrew and I went out to the People’s Park in central Yangshuo. It’s one of the few things inside the city. All other things you ride or catch a bus to, or do as part of a day-trip. We climbed to the viewing platform of a limestone pillar (they are everywhere!) that’s part of the Park, and had a good view of the City from it. I got a jin (500g - it’s a standard measurement for fruit/ veg) of mandarins which were a pit past their prime, but a mandi is a mandi, and not to turn one’s nose up at. Tomorrow night we need to be on the bus to Guilin for a 10:00pm train to Shenzhen.
Before lunch we had an espresso and banana milkshake, and I finished off the postcards.
For tea we went to the ‘Meiyou Cafe’. In Chinese, meiyou means ‘don’t have’. It purports to have ‘Meiyou bad service, bad food, overcharging’ etc. Andrew ordered a New Zealand steak. He said that any New Zealander would be ashamed of it. I had some. It was tasteless. The pepper sauce was ok though. My meal was Chinese veges. It was what I expected and tasted fine. I also ordered a chocolate milkshake. It was not what I would call a milkshake. To the best of my ability, I think it was made of: a little bit of cocoa dissolved in milk (not fully dissolved; there were bits around the top. That’s how I tasted it was cocoa), the rest (4/5 or less) of it was water. It didn’t taste like milk or chocolate, but water and imitation vanilla essence. I smelled and tasted it carefully. Definitely imitation vanilla. Before you question this, I have done enough cooking with the stuff to know what it smells and tastes like. There’s even currently some in my cupboard. An so yes, it most definitely was that. I asked the waitress if she could add a little bit more milk to it, as a ‘good enough’ measure, but she didn’t understand so I didn’t press it. It seems like the Meiyou Cafe has gone down the same path as many other good food joints. They’ve been started by foreigners, run successfully then sold to locals. The owners then employ lots of cost-cutting measures, so the place no longer retains the original recipe but becomes Chinese-ified. I think the Lonely Planet needs to update a few things.
On the other hand, we found a place called Drifters that sold apple crumble, of all things! In China! So we sat down with a drink and waited. 3/4 hr, but it was most certainly worth it. We couldn’t finish them, but took the remainder away and had it as part of breakfast the next day. Minute and dedicated evaluation still ranked it lesser to Mrs Newman (senior)’s, but not by much.
Photos: someone else recommended the apple crumble via the wall, the empty apple crumble take-away container, Drifters frontage.