Forgotten Names


This blog entry about the events of Thursday, September 09, 2004 was originally posted on September 16, 2004.

DAY 327:  “I know you,” I said to a passer-by in the restaurant/cafe next to the hostel the night before.  We had made eye contact two nights prior at the hostel’s little computer area.

“Yeah, last night at the internet,” the voice of the familiar-faced woman said.  I knew that I recognized her face from somewhere, but couldn’t exactly place it right away.  I’m absolutely horrible with names — I forget almost immediately after I hear them — and I only really remember if I write them down so I have a crib sheet to look at.  It’s cheating, I know.

“No, before that,” I said with certainty.  “Listvyanka.  I was in your apartment.”

“My apartment?” she said with a puzzle look that quickly transformed to one of realization.  “Erik?”

Gilly (pronounced “Jilly”), a financial consultant from London that I met on a Lake Baikal boat cruise from the village of Listvyanka in Siberia, had arrived in Yangshou too and it was a coincidence that we ended up at the same place again.  She was embarrassed that she didn’t recognize me right away, even when I did — perhaps it was because my hair was longer.  Little did she know that I couldn’t place her face and name right away either — I had to look up an old Blog entry at my computer to jog my memory when she wasn’t looking.  How’s that for cheating?

THE SUN CAME UP to start another hot and humid day in Yangshou.  I woke Veronica up at eight as she requested, just before our Argentine/French roommate (whose name I never wrote down and therefore forgot) left to check out of the hostel.  He was replaced by a new roommate, a woman from Holland, whose name I also forgot because it was one of those atypical Dutch ones that I never wrote down.  Just like the day before, introductions were fast and soon the three of us were out at a small local place off the main strip for dim sum, the Cantonese breakfast.

We made plans with Gilly to rent bikes around three that afternoon and go on a bamboo rafting trip on the Yulong River for sunset.  In the meantime that morning, Gilly did the Chinese massage thing while I packed up my bags to check out of the hostel by noon, to keep my bags in storage before my sleeper bus to Shenzhen that night.  Veronica and the Dutch woman rented bikes early to ride around and explore more of the sights outside of touristy Yangshou — the two of them hit it off really well with the common bond of always trying to find a way off the beaten path.  I’ve met a lot of their type on the road, people who would rather starve than do something “touristy.”

THREE O’CLOCK CAME AROUND and Gilly and I waited for the other two at the nearby cafe.  While waiting, we debated whether or not we should just rent bikes and find the starting point of the bamboo rafts ourselves, or pay the extra money to have the hostel reception desk arrange it for us.  Half an hour went by with no sign of Veronica and the Dutchie and I suggested we just ditch them, since they were probably far off the beaten path and had lost track of time. 

“I don’t mind paying the seventy [for setting it up with the hostel,]” Gilly said.  I didn’t either and we just signed up for the three-hour biking/rafting excursion with Apple, the girl working the reception desk in the afternoons.  It was a good thing too because the guide she set us up with who took the lead on the bike ride that led us down little village roads and through rice paddy paths that weren’t exactly on the map.

“Good thing we hired the guide,” Gilly said.  “We wouldn’t have found this place ourselves.”

“Yeah.”  Not only that, but our guide was also our raft pilot, which was a good thing because the put-in point wasn’t full of eager raft pilots like I thought.

Our guide (whose name I also forgot) set up a bamboo raft with two chairs on the river and tied our bikes onto it so they wouldn’t slide around and fall in the water.  Gilly and I boarded the raft and let our guide pilot us downstream (picture above), passed the Yulong’s surrounding limestone peaks, the other rafts, the cormorant fishermen and the vendors on rafts selling items such as corn on the cob and makeshift water guns made out of bamboo stalks.  Our guide occasionally serenaded us with Cantonese songs that were stuck in his head, except for the time he just let the current take us for a while so that he could chat on his cell phone

“We’re always meeting by water,” Gilly said to me.  “First on the lake [Baikal] and now here.”

Cruising down the Yulong wasn’t always smooth sailing because every half a kilometer or so there was a cascade that we had to navigate over, some higher than others.  A couple of times we were too heavy to clear the shallow underwater rocks and had to lift the raft; other times we cleared the cascade with no problem.  Deep drops submerged the front half of the raft for a while, but we always kept afloat.

The sun started to set as we cruise on through the tranquil scenery without the sound of a motor and only the occasional sound of the falling water of an upcoming cascade. 

“It’s times like this that I look around and wonder why I work in an office in a big city,” Gilly said.  She worked in finance in London and would have to return in about a month.  Although I hadn’t been in the corporate office space scene for a while, I could still relate.  I took another photo with my feet up in a totally relaxed mood.

“Look,” I said, showing her the playback.  “This is the picture you show the guys back at the office.

AFTER ABOUT THREE HOURS ON THE RIVER, we disembarked just as the sky was beginning to change color with the dramatic solar reflection of the pink atmospheric particles of dusk.  Gilly and I got back on our bikes and rode around through a little village to capture the moment on digital film and then rode back to Yangshou and went out for dinner and drinks.  We had beers until it was time for my overnight bus.

I wished her farewell before we departed ways.  She was to stay in Yangshou for another couple of days, while I went off to head south for Shenzhen.  Perhaps our paths would coincidentally meet again, and as long as this Blog entry is up, I’m sure I won’t forget her name.

Next entry: Keeping Up With The Raichelsons

Previous entry: Dishes

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Comments for “Forgotten Names”

  • First =)  Ah, that raft trip looks so relaxing.  I love the pic with your feet in them.  I do that too LOL

    Posted by Liz  on  09/16  at  04:03 AM

  • cheater! and speaking of cheaters…

    did you know that the host of the show “Cheaters” was actually stabbed by a surprised cheating boyfriend on the confrontation?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/16  at  04:04 AM

  • NEW BLOG SPONSORS:  The first round of postcards using the new mailing list was sent out on this day…  Look out for a postcard from Yangshou…  Hopefully you’ll get the Egyptian one before it…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/16  at  04:12 AM

  • Dude, these China pictures are phenominal.  I’ve definately gotta make it there. 
    I’m home, but not back in the cube farm yet.  And already planning the next big one. 
    Keep the good pics coming.  arrr catch ya later matey, Bill

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/16  at  04:28 AM

  • BILL:  Plan it down my way and we’ll have the title “Chill Bill Vol. 2” sure enough…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/16  at  04:33 AM

  • AR5 FANS:  They are already running ads for AR6 here… starts October…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/16  at  04:36 AM

  • Great pics! ...

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/16  at  04:44 PM

  • The picture with the sky changing color is awesome - well, all of them are awesome - but that one looks like it could be the basis for one of those paintings.

    Glad there was nothing about adventurous food in this one. smile

    We’ll see if AR5 wins an Emmy on Sunday - it’s up against all the other reality crap, so it probably won’t!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/16  at  06:27 PM

  • enjoy:



    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/16  at  08:01 PM

  • OMG - that’s painful… what must he have done to be told to STAY DOWN??

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/16  at  10:58 PM

  • I pear out the window of my 11th floor cube farm; the sky, a peculiar shade grey, coexists symbiotically with the haze shrouding the downtown core.

    Images of concrete and glass contrast sharply with the flora covered limestone peaks of the Yulong River that fill my screen. ?She will be loved? by Maroon 5 plays softly in the background. However, the incessant sounds of jackhammers demolish any mellow vibe the song might have created.

    I gaze at Erik?s feet crossed at the foot of a bamboo raft, and contemplate my escape from the cube? (To be continued)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/16  at  11:44 PM

  • wow TDOT - how long did it take this one this time?


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/17  at  12:13 AM

  • from 9 till 5… same as always…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/17  at  12:19 AM

  • You hear jack-hammers 11 stories up?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/17  at  04:51 AM

  • They’re demolishing a parking structure and installing the foundation for a highrise condo right across the street.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/17  at  07:21 AM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today,, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.

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