Welcome to our blog

Welcome to our blog. During the coming year we travel (backpack) around the world and will try to regularly post some updates on our whereabouts on this page.

Montag, 22. November 2010

Amazing Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, China

Geoff, a Couchsurfer we met in Tokyo wrote us about the Zhuoyue English College in Yangshuo. He suggested we go there and volunteer. As the English College is on Couchsurfing as well, we checked it out, applied and got accepted.

The arrangement was that all 3 of us would lead the 2 hour conversation classes with a small group of Chinese students. In addition we would do 1 presentation and speak with the students during lunch and dinner.

For that we got free accommodation and free food. A cool deal, not only because the tuition was in the evening and we were off the whole day, but also as we got really close to the students and learned more about their lives and their motivations.

We stayed in dormitories with other volunteers.

Petra and Brian

Matthew, Rony and Robin

Ting and Tom

All volunteers, Brian, Petra and their 4 year old Rony from Finland/Estonia were great company, Sonja’s roommate Ting from China, Matthew and Robin’s roommates Chris and Tom from the U.S. were all cool and interesting people in their own way.

Yangshuo is beautiful and very relaxed. It is a rock climbing mecca, there are plenty rental bike shops and loads of other activities. We ended up riding our rental bikes for 2 days on the weekend. Except for the fact that we are not used to sitting on a bike, the scenery is absolutely stunning.

Here are some pictures:

This is a place to come back to. Very nice. Thanks Geoff!

Our second time in Chengdu

A 24 hour train ride brought us from Yangshuo to Chengdu. There is a choice of seating in the trains, hard seat, soft seat, hard bed – sharing a cabin with 6 people, or soft bed – sharing a cabin with 4 people.

We took the hard sleeper, which turned out to be a good decision. There were mainly Chinese people on the train. Those who speak English were quick to find us. Which was fun, as it kills the time and gave us some new views on what is going on in China.

Chengdu is a big, dirty town. The only reason we came here was the train to Tibet. The hostels in Chengdu sell group tours to Tibet. A bit of a bureaucratic thing really, but Tibet can only be visited in groups with a tour guide. Crazy, as groups of 1 are groups too...

In the middle of the city, chairman Mao's statue can not be missed.

We needed to find a 4th person to bring the price down, land cruisers take 4 people and the package is financially way more attractive. We found Charlie, a young man from Taiwan – really excellent match, he needed 3 persons to travel with and we, now, unexpectedly, had a person in our group who speaks Chinese as well as English. Maybe someone up in the skies IS looking after us...

We bought hats (see picture and don’t laugh too loud) haha. And we bought gloves. We had jackets, real fake, but very warm North Face jackets from Yangshuo already.

As we did 5 years ago as well, we went to visit the pandas, which is always entertaining.

We also re-visited the Sichuan opera, something we all enjoy. It had singing, dancing, face changing, 'comedy' etc in Sichuan style.

On our last day we had some cool Turkish food and bought our supplies for the train trip in the Carrefour (a French supermarket).
That was it for China, we are off to Tibet. Still, kind of China... but not really as per many Tibetans...