|I love Guilin...just love it. Mum I am so sorry that we did not have this on our itinerary. You would have not been in a hurry to leave the place. It's just beautiful.
After a bit of a wait for the pickup (which was running late), we got going on our way in the bus to port. This is where we would catch the boat down the 'best' part of the Li River. On board was a woman from Perth, Carol, her friend Nora from the Philippines and two girls from Adelaide Bev and Kim. Yep three Aussie's, oh yeah baby!
We got on great of course and were then joined by Heather a Canadian from British Columbia. Once at the boat we then got to meet two other girls from Switzerland, Annette and Nadia. It was a real friendly group and we got on like we had known each other for ages. All were teachers here in China on various length contracts.
Here's something for you Lin...I was asked by Carol if I knew you!!! Yep she mentioned you by name. Hers by the way is Carol Marshall. You spent time training or working together. Can't remember which at this time. Small bloody world hey? If you are wondering what she is up to now, she has just finished a one and a half year stint and goes back home to Perth in two weeks. She's loves teaching so much that she is thinking of doing a degree when she gets back.
Once we had the basics of our trip we headed up to the top of the boat and got some prime positions at the front of the boat which we kept till we had to go down for lunch. I got a bit burnt for my efforts but didn't care. Not with that view.
It is about the most beautiful river cruise that I could imagine. Well that's not true. If it included stuff from my imagination there would be big flowing birds, a slight pink tinge to the sky, waterfalls, a sunset, ladies in traditional dress walking along the edge with colourful parasols and maybe a dolphin or two. But that doesn't exist so lets move on.
Everywhere you looked was a photo opportunity and it is no wonder that they have used one of these images on their 20Yuan bill. They of course have given certain ones strange names or named them after things that someone with an adventurous imagination saw in them. 'The Painted Hill of Nine Horses' bugged me. I couldn't see even one of the blighters when I was right in front of it but looking at my photo's I can see at least five.
We eventually had to go downstairs for lunch which was included and was quite fab. We got happily full and indulged in the free local beer offered. Heather even had a bit of a siesta in her seat afterwards. The rest of us chatted away and exchanged emails. I have to find the rest of my business cards. I have run out at the moment and it's a bit annoying.
Our destination was Yangshuo, a town described by Lonely Planet as a small, little known place. Yeah right! I haven't seen that many people for a while now and our guide David gave plenty of warnings of pick pocketing. Theft here is rife. A major tourist hotspot. All but the two Swiss girls and myself had bought their luggage with them as they have booked in to stay here. Kind of glad I didn't after seeing it.
David had talked all but Bev and Kim to go on a side trip with him for 200Yuan. Glad I did it but pity that none of us got to say goodbye to the girls. Will have to email them later.
The tour we took with David was to first go to the bamboo boats to take a trip down a small river. It was great. All aboard, a couple of the girls took turns to steer us but I bowed out as it wasn't easy as they had proved and well they may get their turn laughing back at me. I was busy with my camera though. Many more opportunities to get that 'wonderful' shot.
The lady on board serenaded us and even Carol took a turn in singing a Chinese song. She was so good and impressed so much that another boat pulled up beside us to listen. I think they were impressed that she knew it more than anything else.
They also showed us the birds that 'go fishing'. The fisherman picks them up (by their neck) and throws them in the water. The bird then dives for a fish. It can't swallow it as there is a binding around it's neck to prevent that from happening. The fisherman then withdraws the fish from the throat of the bird without it seeming to be hurt by the process or being put off from repeating the process.
Our time there done, we headed to Shangri-La. Another boat ride so feeling very spoilt. It took us around the area and past several different displays and set up's of indigenous people. Once again a chance to take many photo's. The mind and eyes went crazy from the never ending beauty. Man this place is one all should see if they come to China.
After the boat ride we were taken on a walking tour around the rest of the place. Lots of people making thing's but no one pressuring you to buy anything. From silks to batiks and screen printing, there was plenty to see. All in gardens that are wonderfully crafted.
At one stage we were herded into an large square area were they were to throw some ball things to the crowd. Good luck if you catch one I think. Anyway, I was busy filming it at first but just after putting my camera aside, one headed my way. My right hand was full so out went the left hand. I got it...and a round of applause for my efforts. I felt quiet special.
From there we took Carol and Nora back to Yangshuo then it was back to Guilin for the three of us. David almost talked me into taking a tour tomorrow with him to the Seven Star Park and the Reed Flute Cave but the price was too high as far as I was concerned. He also suggested a price for the Dragon Back Terraced Fields in Longsheng County. Annette and Nadia were thinking of going but he said the price was 300Yuan. I figured I might shop around. Glad I did. Back at the hotel I got the tour for 200Yuan. Wish I had Annette or Nadia's number as I would have called them to let them know.
So back I am after booking the tour for tomorrow and extending my stay here by two nights. I have at least two more days of activities so have to stay longer. What a bummer ; )