Cold water attacks us, in long, crystal snakes from left and right.
“Get the foreigners!” one of our enemies cries.
“Get the Chinese!” Dan yells, dipping his gray and red water-gun in the river again and again, trying to defend our bamboo raft if not our diplomacy.
One of our attackers from the right flank, a tee-shirted, balding, soaking wet man gives up on his flimsy water pump and starts flinging water at us with a baseball cap, and finally his hands. His girlfriend opens her umbrella against us in a feeble attempt to protect herself from the deluge, only to get shot with water in the derriere by my father, whose bamboo raft has sneaked up from behind. She squeals so much her boyfriend calls a truce; the left flank attackers are by now laughing so hard they can't lift their water-guns.
They surrender, for now.
* * *
My father sidled up to the shifty-looking man on the street in Yangshuo, a sneaky expression on his face.
“You wanna buy a watch?” he asked, mustache twitching.
“Hey friend!” The man remembered Dad. “You want another watch?”
“No, no,” Dad said. “Do YOU want another watch?”
With a flourish Dad presented his arm, no less than three watches on it. “Wanna buy a watch?” he repeated. And started laughing. The man, a pushy watch salesman, joined in.
* * *
Yangshuo was our last destination in China before my parents flew back to Alaska and Dan and I began the second leg of our Big Trip, jetting off to Malaysia.
A tourist town tucked in the knobbly karst hills of southeastern China, Yangshuo seems to be on every tourist's itinerary. Dan and I visited once before on a three-day escape from Foshan, and liked it enough to go back for four days—and, with it's touristy bars and restaurants, it was a good way to transition between the East and the West.
The main event for us in Yangshuo was the river trip—floating down a placid stream on bamboo rafts and drinking beer while we drifted by the karst formations. Well, it was supposed to be placid and relaxing, but the waterfights livened things up. Dan tried to make it even more entertaining by always aiming his watergun at girls in white tee-shirts.
On land, my parents also caught up on their souvenir shopping, and Dan and I made a last-ditch effort to lighten our bags before our international trip.
A good end to our three-year adventure in中国.
**Click here to see our photos from Yangshuo**