Day 17 - June 30.: This was the day for the "all day bike ride". Basically this meant a 4 hour ride broken up by a break and later; lunch.
We started out going up one side of the river. It was really beautiful there and the road was great for bicycling as it had little car traffic. Every now and then our guide (George) stopped for a "photo-op".
Then M. got stung or bitten on the calf by some insect and the "wound" got really swollen real fast. She also got a headache in addition to feeling cold. M. isn't the person to easily give up so she insisted on continuing along with the rest of us.
After about an hour and a half we arrived at Moon Hill where we had the opportunity to climb to the top. M. didn't feel any better (more the opposite) so she stayed at the restaurant at the bottom with about half the group. The rest of us had an hour to get to the top and back again.
The ascent was really steep and the fact that we had no less than five chinese women at our heels the whole way didn't exactly make us take it slow. These women carried cooler-bags and tried to sell us water and other beverages, the whole way to the top, even though we had brought our own. They didn't take no for an answer either (yes, we tried "boja xie xie" which is chinese for "no thank you") so we had no other choise than to out-pace them. Easier said than done: these women, not one younger than 50, kept us going harder than any personal trainer, and we arrived at the top totally exhausted. Only one of them managed to keep up though. She reached the top about a minute after the rest of us and immediately tried to sell us something again. She would have to get an A for effort anyway
The vertical drop from the top to were we started was 200 meters and the steps quite steep so it was a hard walk. The view however was breathtaking! I know my limits so I skipped the walk to the absolute top (you could go there by a narrow path) and headed down again after a little break.
Well down again we bicycled for another 30 minutes before arrived to the plave where we were to eat lunch. This was actually the home of an elder woman who had lost her husband a couple years ago. In China it is the family who take care of the elder and since they didn't have any kids she struggled to make ends meet. As a way of helping her Intrepid rents her kitchen whenever they have a trip to the area.
It was our local guide who did all the cooking and I must say it was excellent! He probably did 8 or 9 dishes in total, including vegetarian one; all made with fresh ingredients.
After lunch we continued along the river to where we were supposed to cross it. No bridge as with the first crossing, but a dam. What our local guide hadn't calculated with was a lot more water in the river than usual for this time of the year so the crossing became a bit more exciting than we had anticipated Fortunately, for some of us, we wore sandals or flip-flops. Others got their shoes really wet.
The rest of the trip went on pretty uneventful except for one of the girls who managed to run herselfe of the narrow track and ended up in the rice-field.
M. survived the trip as well and she even felt a bit better afterwards. She (claimed) she even enjoyed the trip in spite of having a fever. Well I could believe that one... having a feever does strange things to your mind