Day Two: Shilin to Puzhehei

Booked in at the Huguan Resort… We agreed last night to meet in the foyer at 7am for breakfast. But we struggled to raise John who the night before insisted on having a massage so was booked in for one at 10.30pm for 1.5hrs. Apparently he struggled to get back to his room having been demolished by a Chinese lady who dealt mean version of chinese massage on him. So, we finally awoke him at 7.30 and found the restaurant at 8. Lovely breakfast and we eventually left the resort at about 9am and went looking for a replacement iphone7 lead for the one StJ left in the hotel in Kunming together with the lead for his Garmin head camera. Got this sorted and off we went for the hills and the days cycle ride. Having made a couple of wrong turnings out of the town thecae decided to pace the cyclists and stay together, which kind of worked even though there were a few double backs. We were heading for Mile to get there before lunch. However distractions got in the way – we came across a stone masons factory at the side of the road so decided to wonder in and watch the craftsmen at work (amazing) and then as we passed through vineyards after vineyards we realised we were in the Burgundy area of China with Grape stalls at the side of the road to tempt us, which they did. We had never tasted such delicious grapes and sampled some of the locality’s red wine which was so good we bought three bottles. the boys continued to cycle up the mountain passes and eventually we found a shed at the side of the road which looked as it might pass as a cafe and wandered in to be greeted by the owner who seemed delighted to see us – we were the only people there… Sang persuaded the owner if he could raid the larder and use the wok in the kitchen and made for us all a vegetable omelette and amazing stir fry served up with fresh green tea. Bizarre and already strangely summing up this mad road movie of a cycle ride. We were now so behind time we put the bikes on the car racks and drove up the mountain passes with the plan to let the boys free at the top to cycle down to Puzhehei. The weather had other ideas and we landed ourselves in an almighty thunder storm with torrential rain at the top of the pass which made cycling down dangerous, so we stayed together and finally arrived at our destination at 7pm and booked into a family run hotel where we stayed to eat freshly caught bass which was boiled served with rice, fried kidneys, soup and crayfish, helped down with beer and red wine! If we continue to have days like today we will have had a wonderful tour through the backroads of real beautiful rural China. Lets hope so.

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Detail about the area:

The Puzhehei Scenic Area is 13 kilometers (8.1 miles) northwest of Qiubei County Town, Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Minorities Autonomous Prefecture. As a typical karst landscape, the scenic area abounds in beautiful waters and green mountains which are very similar to and even prettier than those in Guilin. Therefore, Puzhehei is praised as being ‘a unique pastoral scene in China’.

‘Puzhehei’ in the Yi language, means ‘a pond teeming with fish and shrimp. With an area of 165 square kilometers (40,772 acres), the scenic area mostly consists of clusters of limestone peaks, karst caves and natural lakes.

Puzhehei Lake, an upland freshwater lake, stands in the center of this area. It is 1,310 acres of clear, sparkling water, and is called ‘Pearl Lake’ by the local people. About 70 lakes of different sizes link together to form a 20-kilometer (12.4 mile) long tourist watercourse. 300 distinct peaks tower over crystal waters; some seem like elegant pagodas while others resemble penholders. Among the peaks there are more than 200 karst caves, of which about 80 large ones can be visited. In the deep, quiet caves, milky stalagmites grow thickly and steles stand in great numbers. Outside, the vast waters are dotted in summer with shining lotus flowers and boundless lotus leaves, enhancing the picturesque scenery.

Tourists can take a traditional canoe made by the Yi people to admire the stunning spectacle. Simple cottages in good condition, surrounded with cut bamboo, are situated by the lakes. Five ethnic minorities, the Yi, Zhuang, Miao, Yao and Sani, live nearby and preserve their old folk-customs and cultures. Away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, the Puzhehei Scenic Area offers people a fairyland with a tranquil environment and beautiful scenery.

There are neither banks nor ATMs in the scenic spot, so bring some small denomination cash.

Once reaching Puzhehei, the fantastic water fighting game cannot be missed. If you want to participate, you’ll need a plastic barrel, a one-off rain coat and a water gun. Also, cell phones, cameras and other electronic devices should be protected during the game.

To see the highlights video of Day Two click here:

https://vimeopro.com/nonesuchemedia/gonecycling/video/223641289

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