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An Ancient Village Beneath Moon Hill

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

It’s the first ride I took in Yangshuo in 2000. It’s also the first ride all visitors to Yangshuo take. It is a huge slice of rock with a round hole in its center. You climb eight hundred steps on a mountain path to reach it. At various angles it resembles from the new moon to a full moon. The rock measures 380 m (height) by 410 m (length) by 220 m (width).

Legend has it that there is a Guanghan Palace on the moon inhabited by the beauty Chang'e, the Jade Rabbit, and Wu Gang the woodcutter. People in olden days thought they saw these immortals when they came upon spots on the moon's surface. These days’ Chinese tourists all point out the naturally formed rock images of Chang'e, the Jade Rabbit and Wu Gang the woodcutter and the Western tourist who can’t see a single one of them simply raises an eyebrow and smiles.

When JiangNi and I travel together, during the day Sneaky Snacky morphs into Sleepy Snacky and while I’m out and about sweating all of the previous night’s beer she’s happily at home sleeping and dreaming about snacking. Strangely, over the past week she has surprised me on several occasions by calling me and asking what time I will be back. I ask if she needs snacks and a big kiss, she giggles and the first time she told me that she wanted to ride one of those bikes with the many seats.

I informed her that there are no ferris-wheels in Yangshuo and we’d have to go to Guilin. She told me I was stupid and to hurry home, with snacks of course!

Another time I was too tired to ride until dusk and returned home with snacks and there was no answer. I called her phone and when she answered I asked why she had her phone in the shower. She laughed and called me an idiot and informed me that she was at Moon Hill riding. After coughing and spluttering from shock I asked her to open the door, she told me not to eat the snacks and to come and find her. Honestly I could buy the girl flowers but they’d have to be made of chili tofu or she’d probably go outside and sell them (for profit of course, she’s a numbers girl after all) and spend the money on snacks. Another time I came home around five wanting a cold shower and to relax before dinner and she’s like;

No, no shower, I relaxed enough for both of us today. We still have more than two hours of light. Let’s get a bike with many seats again.

Yes, I have a girlfriend who demands that I ride a bike who rarely uses an umbrella in the sun and I ask you what’s more beautiful than a Chinese girl. That would be a Chinese girl with a suntan of course…awesome!

<u>Big Banyan Tree</u>

On the way to Moon Hill can be found the prominent and towering Big Banyan Tree.

It has survived the wild Guangxi weather centuries and was planted during the Sui Dynasty (581-618). It found its fame after parts of the film 'Third Sister Liu' (Lui Sanjie) was shot there when beneath its leaves 'Third Sister Liu’ declared her admiration to her lover A'niu. For those who have seen the spectacular &#8216;Impressions Lui Sanjie’, it is this story that Zhang Yimou (who also directed the opening to the Beijing Olympics) followed when creating the Yangshuo Impressions extravaganza. The Big Banyan Tree has a girth of seven meters and is seventeen meters high and even during the mid summer heat its branches and leaves stretch out so lushly that barely any sunshine penetrates its canopy leaving all those sitting below in comfort.

<u>Moon Hill Ancient Village</u>

If you ride past the entrance to Moon Hill, take the next small road on your right and continue to follow it you will end up in a small village that has finally woken to the fact that money can be made if it advertises its ancient heart of worn smooth linked pathways. I was shown this village many years ago by a guy who had been teaching in Guilin city for a number of years and continually returned to Yangshuo most weekends to see his girlfriend and like me, to find that elusive ancient village!

There is now a large billboard at the beginning of the road along with a small entry fee of ten Yuan.

Several families have opened small eateries where you can taste some of the local cuisine and from what I understood there are even several rooms available. During this visit I came across a family whose daughters English was awesome. She tried to find out the name of the village for me and after asking a bent and twisted gnarly old lady she translated it as &#8216;A Village Under The Hill’. Sadly I couldn’t find out anything else as they were leaving and I had just arrived. Even though it is only small, the village does offer visitors a chance to experience what a real &#8216;ancient village’ is like compared to most of the others they ride through to and from Moon Hill and Yangshuo.

With its tranquil scenery comprised of leveled rice terraces along with several crystal clear brooks I’m sure there will be one or two hostels here by the time I return in several years.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Fish. The album was &#8216;Internal Exile’. ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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