Heading For a Fall阳朔历险记
An Adventure in Yangshuo
The narrow cement path ended abruptly, falling off into a small stream - facing a stone wall. Bolting across the stream like Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, I didn’t allow myself enough time to pump the breaks, so, as the path ended, so did I...
Life is funny. Travel is funny. And traveling within mainland China can be very funny. Let me tell you a story about a road, a face, a river, and a dead-end, and let me tell you what I learned along the way.
It was two days into Spring Festival and a friend and I had plans to go to Yangshuo, Guangxi province, Nepal and then Malaysia. It was going to be an epic adventure, as all adventures are. Who would we meet? What would we see? Would we return to China the same, or altered in some way? The possibilities seemed as endless as the roads ahead of us; the potential as limitless as the hearts in our chests.
So, our first adventure found us biking through Yangshuo, which, if you haven’t been, is pretty much a fairy land of dreams. I’ve been there twice and would gladly go back for more. The mountains mingle and mutter like giants at a town meeting. While milling about, you experience an odd kind of grandeur that is different from any other kind of grandeur I’ve ever experienced in this world. It’s a strange kind of beauty - and that’s the best kind if you ask me.
We had been biking for maybe 5 hours when the path ended at the bank of a river. Not wanting to pay the fare to take a raft over the water, we thought we could find an alternative route across the river. Mistake number 1.
We found a narrow cement path that stretched over the water, and decided to zoom over it at high-speed. This way, we reasoned, we’d go unnoticed. We nd were getting ourselves riled up to break a rule that didn’t exist. And so, began our charge over the river.
Now here’s the funny part. The narrow cement path ended abruptly, falling off into a small stream - facing a stone wall. Bolting across the stream like Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, I didn’t allow myself enough time to pump the breaks, so, as the path ended, so did I.
Peeling myself off the wall and out of the water I began to chant “I’m okay, I’m okay” in order to let my travel buddies know that I was, if not exactly okay, then alive at least. There was blood, but nothing hurt too badly. My teeth weren’t broken (hashtag vanity), and I climbed sheepishly out of the stream.
My moon-face quickly began to swell and my already too-puffy lips inflated comically. My cheekbones reorganized themselves and a magnificent black eye became my new travel companion for the duration of my trip.
When you crash into a wall because you’re riding too fast (feeling like Aragon) in order to avoid paying 10 kuai to cross a river in southern China, the only response is to laugh. Even with a bloody nose.
When life takes away our pride and dignity, I think we need to embrace it. I’ve found that all the mishaps and embarrassing accidents I’ve endured have only strengthened my pride and spirit. Humiliation will do that; it’s a great leveler. So, the next time you’re flat on your back, look to your left and I’ll probably be there too, and we can have a good laugh about it as we help each other up from the dirt.