First thing’s first: let me tell you about the rather ‘interesting’ sales tactics employed by the hustlers on the mean streets of Hong Kong. There are many people who want to sell you watches and handbags. Occasionally we entered into conversation with them; the conversations mainly consisted of me telling them that I already own four watches and that I neither require a fake Rolex or a handbag. One gentleman did however tell me that he also had ‘man handbags’, but was unable to persuade me to part with my beloved traveller’s backpack.
The journey begins!
Another early start for us as we made our way to China, well the start was made just that little earlier because I accidentally set the alarm at 04:55 rather than 05:30, equally gruelling for me and enraging for Lorna (she likes to sleep as much as possible…I was lucky to escape with my life).
We made our way from Kowloon to Hong Kong central, where we luckily bumped into our first tour guide who saw us looking around disorientated and took us to the meeting point. This was after only four hours’ sleep (again- admittedly, my fault).
After meeting with the tour group in a hostel we left our bags there in order to visit the Peak; we saw it yesterday but didn’t go on the tram due to the very long waiting times. This time we went up in a bus and down in the tram… if I’m honest I was less than enthusiastic about it was because it wasn’t particularly interesting. The tram was steep and afforded only small glimpses of the Hong Kong skyline and the rest was covered by foliage. It would certainly not have been worth queuing for over three hours!
Our itinerary for the first day of the tour was a little misleading; it gave the impression that there would be one metro and one bullet train to our destination town of Yangshuo in southern China. In fact, there were two metros and two trains. Along with this there were two separate buses, numerous sweltering-hot stations, long walks with our heavy main luggage and numerous security checkpoints and immigration, and we were extremely glad when our hostel eventually rolled into view through the window of the last bus.
Our guide took us out for dinner where we were treated to a large selection of vegetarian food which hit the spot! We were pretty awestruck by the sea of neon lights, the hive of activity and the buzzing atmosphere of our first stop in China.
Day two, thankfully, featured something more interesting than sitting on trains and buses! We went on what we thought was to be a 'short' bike ride that turned out to be a few hours. The ride was a little bumpy to say the least! The men were given mountain bikes with gears and suspension, whereas the women were given city bikes with no gears or suspension! I must say that I offered Lorna my bike numerous times but she declined and handled the terrain with ease.
Part way through the bike ride we stopped off for a bamboo raft ride, which was essentially Chinese punting. The raft ride was far more exhilarating than we expected- at one stage we were told to raise our feet and were a little bemused. Then all became clear: the boat was to take a trip over a weir and the 'deck' was (briefly) fully submerged!
We returned to the hostel and got ready for the walk to dinner, which unfortunately took the form of a bit of a wild goose chase, visiting two closed restaurants and then settling on a third which looked more like someones living room. Nevertheless the food did not disappoint- but we came to a consensus that tomorrow would be a pizza day!
After dinner we headed for Monkey Jane's Rooftop Bar which is a beer-pong bar. Needless to say the drinks started flowing, and that's all anyone needs to know...We (the tour group) took on a Chinese group of friends: it just goes to show that beer pong is a universal way to bring people together.