West Street is the busiest block in Yangshuo. It’s rumoured to be called West Street because of the amount of foreigners (or Westerners) who walk up and down it everyday. The Chinese tourists definitely outnumbered the European retirees and 20-something scruffy backpackers when I was there…so maybe the West side of the world was just having a slow week, travel wise? If not, then I feel this street name to be unfair. Our Chinatown neighborhoods all over North America certainly don’t exaggerate.
So when Alick and I checked in to Showbiz we immediately headed up to the rooftop. I had been telling him about the Yangshuo scenery throughout the entire river tour like I was an expert. We got up to the rooftop and while his jaw dropped I just nodded my head, “yep. This is what it’s supposed to look like.” I was a little jealous of Alick’s fresh take on the beautiful place; one of the most beautiful places on the continent, probably. Then I browsed the photo wall they had on the floor below the rooftop and I saw pics of MY FRIENDS! It was two of the guys I’d volunteered with in Shandong province two years prior, the experience which sparked my infatuation with Mainland China. There they were, Rupert and Harry, hugging and posing with other travelers on a typical night on a Yangshuo rooftop. It had been over two years since I’d last seen them but I felt united with my volunteer buddies again and all the reasons why I chose to return to China came back to me. Maybe I’d lost some of the perspective somewhere in the swarm of motorbikes. Perhaps it was water. Maybe the meat was getting to my head (yes, I eat meat in China). I needed Yangshuo, and the breathtaking scenery I got to enjoy for six days was just an added bonus.
Yes it’s super touristy. But (gasp!) that’s a big part of what makes Yangshuo well..Yangshuo. Let it be man. It’s freaking beautiful. Just go and have a blast…whatever that means to you.