Hi guys..

This has become much more easier to update with fast internet here in China.

Had the most fantastic day today in this beautiful town called Yangshou. Its a backpackers favourite and yes, it is quite touristy but it is gorgeous. We went for a bike ride this morning for 4 hours through the countryside, met some locals and saw ride paddies, peanut trees and then went to this place called Moon hill which was basically a bit mountain climb which nearly killed me.. but it was worth the climb in the end as the view was amazing over the countryside when we got to the top… followed of course by about 5 chinese ladies trying to sell us water, they do this climb twice a day just to sell a bottle of water for about 50cent. Crazy.

After that our chinese guide took us to her house and cooked us dinner which was about 5 different dishes. we met her mum and sisters and brothers and friends who all lived in the house. The house was mad, just a brick shed really with 4 bedrooms off it. It was an amazing experience to be there and hear about their life. They have ( as most of the families here ) had a fish pond out the back of their house, loads of chickens and vegetable plants. So really they can self survive. The average wages of the ppl here is about 50euros per month and its only the lucky ones who get to learn to speak english. They are so friendly and greeting ppl, we were a bit wary thinking we may be intruding but it wasn’t like that at all. They were happy for us to take photos with them and show us around and teach us their language.

Later we went to a cooking class with the kiwi couple with this chinese girl called Jackie. We learnt 5 different dishes, the class was set in this lovely old country farm house. Oh, i should mention that before that she took us to the markets which i thought was disgusting.. i know i dont like dogs but seeing them lying there tails, eyes everything was horrible, bags of frogs still alive and one guy picking them out and cutting them in half.. live chickens , eels, snails, tortoises, snakes.. i couldn’t take it. Will put up some photos that gareth took when i get the chance.
The cooking class was great fun, we cooked Eggplant stirfry which was unbelievable, chicken with cashew nuts, fish in beer, dim summs, mined pork stuffed in Pumkin Flower, mushrooms and tofu.

Tomorrow we are off to catch the sleeper train to our next destination – Wuhan. Heading for the Yangzi River.
Will update again soon.. hope u are all well.
Deirdre xxxxx

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