* A Scalene Triangle...

...the smallest dimension being its height.

This is the part of the trip where I learned that (a) being cheap is definitely not always worth it, and (b) if I ever ever ever pick anything ever again based on the fact that it has character I must immediately rethink this decision. (granted, this is part of how I picked my apartment for May. Oooh. We'll see how this goes, no?)

When we first arrived at Lisa's, we were shown a standard four-person room, with shared bathroom and A/C, but when I asked if there was anything cheaper, the girl showing us around said, essentially, there was, but... uhm... I should warn you, the ceilings are quite low... (translated, of course)

she wasn't kidding - this was the scalene triangle, where except at the immediate entrance, there wasn't enough ceiling room to stand up straight, or really, to stand up at all. Actually, come to think of it, at the narrow end, you couldn't possibly have done anything but lie down... Plus, the classy hanging ceiling lamp, which, of course, was hung almost at knee height. Instead of A/C, we had a fan that didn't rotate. Oh, but it gets better...

The ceiling, being nothing more than the underside of the roof itself, shed random crap on the mattresses everytime it rained. The walls were a fantastic display of electrical wiring (even in the bathroom!), which, of course, led G and I to a hilarious, and completely not serious, discussion: "what? how's hanging wet clothes to dry on electrical taped wires a BAD idea? but look, they've thoughtfully given us hangers!"

In the bathroom, where the ceiling was, in fact, high enough to allow us to stand while showering, though not wide enough that you could stand anywhere but directly next to the toilet as you showered. The hot water took forever to heat up (not so much a problem in Yangshuo's sweltering heat, mind you), nevermind having an actual handle on the tap. A toilet that once again made me appreciate squat toilets where you never actually have to deal with the sketchy seats. And plus, who doesn't appreciate cobwebs and bare concrete?

Oh, but, look, what a nice view it has, of the touristy West Street. Oh, this view? Through the window? With its two panes of unfinished glass? Which, we found out the hard way, weren't ACTUALLY large enough to cover the full area of the window, that is, if you don't break it or accidentally slit your wrists attempting to close it. The drape (read: towel) did an even more fantastic job, covering about 50-60% of the window area, with a wide gap at both the top and side.

The best part was meeting other tourists who were being shown the (and I'm not kidding) "special room" or the "Mao room" as they also called it. I appreciated at least that the girl who showed us the room didn't try to dress it up as anything - she warned us fair and square. There wasn't any spin, like for the others' being shown the place, and being told, oh, that's no problem, we can fit THREE more people in a room that isn't even big enough to stand in. Surprisingly enough, no one else decided to take the room and join us for the evening. In fact, one girl turned it down rather brutally, and then, realizing we were there unpacking ourselves, turned to us and politely joked, "sorry to dis your room" - I laughed about that.

Because, when it came down to it, as horrifying as all that was, I could've lived with all that. It was, to me, anyway, more hilarious than anything else, and, hey, you really couldn't argue that the place didn't have character. ahahahahah. Yeah, I'm a risk to myself and others sometimes, I know.

BUT, what made the place ACTUALLY unliveable after the first night... So, that beautiful view of West Street? Yeah, did I neglect to mention that West Street is not only a tourist street, filled with shops and bustle during the day, but a BAR and CLUB street at night? OH MY. As G said, "I feel like a carnie" - even with earplugs, it was like living INSIDE the speakers of some horrifying street disco dance party, nevermind the really bad karaoke. Feel the music? Oh, yes, we FELT the music.

That, more than any of the other stuff, made us move house after one night. Yangshuo really wasn't our cup of tea as far as housing went. When we told Lisa we were going to move because of the noise, and told her we'd found a cheap place that was quiet, she counteroffered, and moved us into a two-person room, which was actually decent. The fan was fine, the bathroom reasonably sized, and the ceilings at sane heights. I'm pretty convinced that smell, though, was mold, and the lizard in the bathroom wasn't really the keenest thing, so after three nights there, we moved again, this time to the backstreet HI, which was FABULOUS, as far as cleanliness went. Trouble was, though, we hadn't reserved a second night there, and so they asked us to swap rooms for the second night, to accomodate a group of four coming the next day. That's cool, said we, only to find that we were expected to move into the now flooded upstairs room, which, oh, did we not mention, is connected to the open hallway balcony that floods everytime it rains. Oh, did I not mention that it was raining now non-stop, such that even the Li river itself was flooding it's banks (cancelling our opportunity to go see this on-the-water-light-show and dance extravaganza directed/made in some way by Zhang Yimou), so this meant guaranteed room flooding? Not cool.

So, once again we were nomads, woo, wandering (feverishly, as a bonus, as I got sick the same day we got booted out of the HI) in the rain to find new digs. We tried the West Street HI, which not only was likely to be noisy, as it was on West Street, again, and above a restaurant/bar, but offered us a nine-person, one-bathroom dorm room, in drastic contrast to the quiet 4-person dorms we'd loved at the backstreet HI (which, by the by, I do actually recommend if you stay in Yangshuo. Just make reservations, and the place is actually wonderful). I think somewhere around this time, G compared us to Mary and Joseph seeking any sort of shelter for the night. We finally ended up back at Lisa's, at higher prices than we left (understandably so), where I got right and proper ill. But that's another story entirely. :P

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