This one is very crowded. . . We had a lot of weather, mud and fun. The ride into Guilin, going from quiet rural lanes and then back into chaotic traffic was exhilarating. . . I kept the group waiting while I pottered off in the opposite direction, wondering where they had all got to and with thoughts of “they must have really cracked on” followed shortly by “this does not feel quite right”.
True to his usual kind attentive self, Mr. Tang came flying along to gather me in and return me to the fold.
Then the next day we set off for more mud with extra rain to our raft ride down through the misty mountains to XingPing.
It was very atmospheric in the grey, with clouds and emerging/disappearing mountains. I gather our boatman was so intrigued by my painting efforts that he was balancing on one leg, peering over my chair and steering with his outstretched foot.
In true biking tradition, we can see Nigel shouldering his bike down the steps to the rafts.
This is a close up of the effects of mud and rain, preceded by a sweet little portrait of Mr. Huang and Mr. Li, our delightful drivers, picnic makers and baggage haulers. On the last night, at a final fantastic banquet, I finally managed to persuade Mr. Li to sing. (I had heard sweet snippets from him at various moments along the way but my requests were met with the pair of them laughing and pointing to each other while declaring that each was “so good looking”!!)
At the eleventh hour, I was at last treated to quiet, lyrical songs of his love for his homeland. I was transported and it was especially lovely as Mr. Li is extremely modest and so with Mr. Huang’s encouragement, he just quietly sang to me in a way that was for my ears only while the farewell party went on around us.
What more could a girl wish for?