Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guilin Vacation: Day 1

Yangshuo Vacation
Originally uploaded by jimwink

The aforementioned mistery vacation was to Guilin, China. We left Thursday evening and returned Monday afternoon, which left us three days for intense Jim & Rachel play time.

Guilin is in the province of Guangxi, and the area where we stayed is called Yangshuo. Our hotel was the Li River Retreat, and was about 2km out of the town of Yangshuo.

So the first day after breakfast, we met up with our tour guide, YuLing, and headed out. We rented bikes, rode through Yangshou and made our way to the Yulong River. The bike ride was nice, even though the sun was already scorching. We stopped along the ride for photo oppurtunities.

At the Yulong shore, we took a bamboo raft ride downstream. The raft driver (who navigates the raft like a gondola driver does a gondola) put our bikes on the back of the raft, and we sat in rinky-dink bamboo lawn chairs in the middle of the raft. There were some small 'waterfalls,' and on two of these the embankments we were passing over was too long for our driver to just push us over. So Jim & I had to step off the raft and help edge the raft over the edge and hop back on before it went over. The guide would hop on at the last minute. Anyways, on our first hop off the raft, I almost had a nice swim in the Yulong because I started to slip on the algae present.

At the end of the raft ride we met back with YuLing and rode our bikes to Moon Hill, a scenic outlook spot. You can see Moon Hill from various parts of Yangshuo, but we heard it was great to see from the top. So we walked up the 800 steps to see it. The funny thing about this is when you pay to go to the top of Moon Hill, you get a 'dedicated' tour guide to go with you. From our observations, the prerequisites for becoming one of these tour guides listed below:

1) female.
2) at least 65 years old.
3) able to scale 800 steps faster than most Westerners/toursists.
4) able to carry a 1 cubic foot styrofoam cooler full of assorted beverages while completing #3.
5) constantly fan your tourist while completing #3.
6) some conversational English (desired in order to sell goods from #4 and offer rest brakes to the whimpy tourists).

The guides were very polite and helpful, teaching us various Chinese words for things we didn't know: bird, butterfly, tree, etc. An interesting note about the beverages they carried: the price varied with where you wanted to buy it. Two bottles of water at the top of Moon Hill was 20RMB, whereas two bottles back at the bottom at the end of our trip was only 10RMB. I guess that's a pretty basic lesson in the Law of Supply and Demand.

After Moon Hill, YuLing took us to a local restaurant where we sampled the local fare: beer fish. We enjoyed the meal, especially after the busy activities of the day. After our late lunch, we headed back to the hotel to get some R&R before our plans that evening.

Impression Liu Sanjie
Originally uploaded by jimwink

In the evening we headed to the Liu Sanjie lightshow, which is performed at least once every night, employs 500+ people and showcases how the local minorities live off the land. The entire show takes place on bamboo rafts or floating docks. The man who choreographed/directed this show was also responsible for the opening ceremony at the Olympics. Needless to say the show was fascinating; we tried to take pictures to capture the moments but this is one of those experiences that photos cannot fully encapsulate. That said, if anyone wants to go see it, I think we would both be game on going back.

1 comment:

david santos said...

China, congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!