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The Eight Billion Yuan Good Bye Dinner

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Mickey, MC Blues & Sofia the monster dog. Over the last few days Mickey and I finally cleared our schedules and caught up.

I met Mickey when I first visited Yangshuo way back in 1999 and he actually remembered me when I walked in back in 2005. Back then MC Blues was where KFC is now and the town was a small foreign backpacker’s haven with several cafes offering western menu’s full of banana pancakes and coffee along with American and English breakfasts. Each night you chose where to eat and kick back by the movies that were on the black board outside each café.

And the movies were brought to you by none other than Laser Disk. For the youngsters reading this, the Laser Disk was around the same size as a record…

…Um…Oh, you also don’t know what a record is because they were prior to laser disk, CD and DVD. OK, go into your kitchen and look at a dinner plate. Once upon a time, for a short time, squeezed in between video tapes and the DVD, movies actually came on a CD/DVD type disk that was around the same size as your dinner plate but it would take two of these disks to house one movie.

An explanation of getting a little older;

Several years prior to leaving Australia I was floored when my nephew looked at his father in total confusion and asked what a record was. My brother, like most of us, no longer had a record player but thankfully still had some vinyl hidden away. After showing his son a record and explaining that there was actually music on it we found that we really weren’t getting anywhere. So we tried to explain that this was 'our’ CD and after showing him a 45 (single) we tried to explain that for us it was like an MP3ish type thing. In the end we totally gave up, my nephew happily continued playing his X-Box, we grabbed another couple of Boag’s Beers and talked about our first Commodore 64’s and Atari.

Life, it passes by quickly…get over it!

Today was my last day here in Yangshuo and after a big night with Mickey and his mates at MC Blues I was glad it was raining when I woke as I then slept guilt free for the following four hours until Mickey rang to tell me he had a part of Yangshuo to show me that almost all of the locals didn’t know existed. After following his directions I left the darkness of the new tunnel and found myself in peaceful sanctuary of stillness. It was so beautiful and it turns out that some very rich guy from Guigang city found a much unexpected surprise right near the very heart of Yangshuo and West Street and after handing over what is believed to be eight billion Yuan now owns what is one of the most sort after pieces of land in China.

A real Hidden Valley in all sense of the words!

Surrounded by giant karst peaks is what the locals now call The Hidden Valley, the only way in was once a small track leading up from Binjiang Lu which is hidden from the public by the Covered Walkway along the Li River. Now the main and easiest way in is via the new Private Tunnel that the new proprioter blasted through one of the peaks but until now the tunnel has been sealed and no locals been allowed through. Thankfully due to its completion the font gates have been left open and a small handful of people have dared enter.

The Hidden Valley was actually once inhabited as (upon exiting the tunnel – once the rear of the enclosed valley) there is an old farm house that over the past decades has been slowly swallowed by vines that now clutch to its decaying shell. Other than that, besides the old walking track that once led from the river to the homestead, the only other fixtures left here by man is the now new Workers Quarters that will house the workers that will soon move in to deface what, over time had become a private sanctuary and haven for the wildlife to thrive.

It is said that he will build an eco friendly resort but others believe he will turn it into new estates for the rich. Either way, it is sad that such a place had to be found.

After an hour or so walking, talking, relaxing and watching Mickey and Monster Dog Sofia goofing around, we turned our backs on the eight billion dollar Hidden Sanctuary and headed back to Mickey’s pad to meet the Gang from Guangdong. For me though, I knew it would be the last time that I would visit this haven with its face of pristine beauty.

One of the visiting Guangdong Five is a head chef in one of Guangzhou city’s large restaurant’s and whilst we were out and about he spent the entire afternoon slicing and dicing, bleeding dry an eel, marinating and slow cooking. Upon our arrival the beer began leaving its warm wet circles of happiness on the table top and soon the first of many mouthwatering dishes arrived. As the Chef continued to slave away in Mickey’s tiny sweat box of a kitchen the rest of the Gang of Five, Mickey and I all yelled friendly abuse towards the kitchen such as;

You call yourself a Head Chef? Why the hell do we only have four dishes here? Hey ‘Cook’ as we aren’t paying for any of these; How about another fish dish and hurry with that damn duck! Hey, ‘Waiter’ when you bring the next dish could you also bring another ten beers! You’ve been bleeding, cooking, cooling and re-cooking that eel rice all day, QUICKLY! ‘Bitch’ let it simmer a bit longer and come and clean up some of these plates we’ve finished!

As the boyish appreciation grew, so did the mountain of beer cans around the table legs just like the vines covering the homestead in the Hidden Sanctuary that were now sucking the breath of its last moments in time. The early hours of the morning found me with several BBQ sticks in hand peacefully walking back to my room whistling Crowded House tunes to all of the street sweepers who were busily making the place beautiful for the next night’s mountain of rubbish thrown the wayside by the domestic Chinese Tourist.

The pictures of the Hidden Sanctuary are those at the bottom of the page. Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Triple J The album was ‘Hottest 100, 2007’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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