I like living in Yangshuo. I really do. It has a lot going for it. Unfortunately it has one or two things in the debit column too. I decided to go for a walk today, time having dulled the memory of why I don't go for walks in Yangshuo. I was soon reminded. It simply isn't a city where it's possible to enjoy a pleasant stroll. There is one walk that is a circular stroll down by the river and round until you get back into town but that's about it and it does get a bit tedious when there are no other places to go.
No other places to go on foot anyway. Today I went over the bridge and started walking out towards Xingping. I persevered for about forty-five minutes and then gave up and came back. The trouble is that the roads simply aren't designed with pedestrians in mind. There is nowhere for people to actually walk. Often you either have a long drop or a high hedge two centimetres to one side of you and an endless stream of criminally insane drivers hurtling past two centimetres to the other side. Those aren't the only hazards to contend with, either. The narrow strip where you are walking has frequent deep potholes apparently designed to trip the unwary and equally frequent subtle changes of level so that the ground isn't quite where your brain thinks it ought to be and you run the risk of breaking your ankle from a misstep. Assuming that you manage to concentrate hard enough to avoid the quarter of a second lapse in attention that will get you killed by one of these obstacles there is a pretty good chance that you'll contract some fatal lung condition from the air which is so polluted by car exhaust emissions that a blue haze prevents you seeing clearly a whole mountain that is less than half a mile away. China has emission control laws but you certainly wouldn't believe it from walking around in Yangshuo.
Anyway my whole walk was a singularly unpleasant experience. So I won't be doing it again until the memory of this time has also faded.