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The Paradise Hotel 

Yangshuo, China

Yangshuo is a compact town nestled in the mountains 50 miles downstream from Guilin.

The tour boats terminate here, so the streets come alive for about an hour, as tourists make their way through the shops before taking buses back to Guilin.

For the rest of the day, Yangshuo is peaceful.
We decided to spend a few days here, so we got a room at the Paradise Hotel. 
The garden and grounds are very pleasant, which is good, because you wouldn't want to spend much time in the rooms.

That's okay. Even if the rooms were really nice, Yangshuo is a town made for strolling and bicycling, so the room would be a waste. It was misty while we were there, but we went out

We wanted to get an overview of the town, so we headed for the nearest peak.
The trail up the peak was very natural, which is to say dangerous. 
Especially with the rain making the rocks and mud even more slick.

Still, we made it to the top, where a pagoda awaited us. For some reason, it was more wet inside the pagoda than outside. 
We didn't mind. We just stepped outside, took some photos, renamed all the mountains, then scampered back down.

A Town Nestled in the Mountains

Wow - A Real Paper Umbrella 

Besides the mountains and quiet, Yangshuo is popular for it's main shopping street.
It looks exactly like a tourist would picture China looking like. 
You could easily picture Jet Li kicking Donnie Yen's butt all through town (if you don't know what I'm talking about - rent "Once Upon a Time in China 2" and thank me later) while the Wong Fei Hung theme plays.

I walked around town telling everyone that I'm a master of the "drunken air guitar" school of kung fu and was looking for a challenge, but everyone was way too nice to listen to me.

So I shopped.
The street is full of really cool stores. I looked at piles of paintings, bundles of books, gobs of ....garbage (you see where this is going, right?). Okay, okay, I'll stop.
Finally, I settled on an 'antique' Chinese Opera puppet.

I'm quite sure it wasn't an antique, but that's fine, since I didn't pay an antique price.

We decided at this point to look for a place to eat. 
This was easy, since Yangshuo is also well known in travel circles for its' foreign cafes.

Unfortunately, it's known more for the prices than the quality. A good rule of thumb is: don't eat in a restaurant where backpackers are trying to bargain a three dollar meal down to two dollars....

Yangshuo's Cafe Street


We finally settled into J.J.'s, which was pretty good. The owner was a funny guy. As we wasted a couple of rainy hours there, he said, "Yangshuo is so beautiful. It has the mountains, the river, and... (pointing at all the water running off the front of the building) ...waterfalls!"

This happy woman came up and sold us bananas. Later, we paid some young girls to sing Chinese songs for us.

A great place to relax...