After leaving Wenzhou and the International Outdoor Film Festival in Nanzi River. Our hosts flew Rufus, Andy, and I to Guilin for three days of climbing at Yangshuo. This region is characterized by Karst towers formed over geologic time from the dissolution of limestone by the rain. This area would be considered a mature karst landscape because a large amount of bedrock has been removed by this process leaving behind the large towers that are great for climbing.
Yangshuo is about an hours drive from the airport in Guilin and seems to be the center for climbing on the karst towers.
Rufus and I arrived at Yangshuo a day before Andy and our host Amanda (her English name). I was recovering from a hand injury sustained while crack climbing a few weeks previous so I was limited in what I could do.
There was a vibrant Chinese climbing community here with gear shops and guides who took newcomers to their favorite crags.
It seems like even small towns in China are full of lots of people and Yangshuo was no exception. It was a busy place with a thriving tourist economy. But you didn't have to go far outside of town to encounter farming communities whose growing techniques looked like they had not changed in a very long time.
I remained surprised that I didn't see any abject poverty anywhere on this trip similar to other developing or emerging economies. I never saw a panhandler or beggar. I don't know if poor people were removed from tourist areas or if things were managed so there was enough to go around. People seemed well dressed and there was a lot of new construction.
Our last evening in Yangshou we went to the shop where they have fish in tanks that eat the dead skin off of your feet. It felt weird and ticklish at first but then I sat there for about an hour and the fish removed only a fraction of the dead skin on my feet. I think I would need a special 24 hour rate to get most of it removed.
I'd like to thank all our Chinese hosts, especially Amanda Lu. We had a great time at a great event and that was mostly due to the superb organization of it all.
|Karst pinnacles in Yangshuo|
|Rufus Lusk walking to the "Egg"|
|Rufus leading with Cindi (English name) while Andy Parkin belays me|
|Chinese climbers cragging scene|
|Not everyone drives a car - - yet|
|Amanda advising Andy on dead skin eating fish|