Thursday, August 04, 2005

China Tour - Part IV (Yangshuo)

Li River - Landscape IThe next morning, we were picked up from our hotel by a bus which took us to the port from which we would embark on our cruise down the Li River. We had our luggage with us as we were going to stay overnight in Yangshuo. Most of the visitors were only taking day-trips and we were the only foreigners in our group. The bus ride lasted about one hour, but we finally arrived, boarded and set sail for Yangshuo sometime after 10AM. We left our luggage on the bus, which we would later pick up once we had arrived in Yangshuo.

As Guilin is famous for its beautiful natural scenery, we were excited to take a cruise through the gorgeous Li River valley to the small tourist town of Yangshuo, which largely shared the same exotic surroundings. My dad was quite excited about the trip, in fact he said it was his favorite part of our vacation, and stayed on deck and snapped photos for almost the entire length of the journey, really only returning to eat lunch, which was provided as part of our ticket.

Li River - Fisherman Selling His WaresThe cruise was very entertaining and there were many things to attract our attention. As we departed, we could see both ahead and behind that we were part of a giant flotilla making its way to Yangshuo. It was really impressive to see so many boats heading down river. At the beginning of the trip, Fisherman, in their small boats, would pull up alongside of the larger boats, and sell their fresh catch to the kitchens which were located at the rear of each boat. All along the journey, we could see small villages in the trees and people working or walking among the trees.

We finally arrived, left the boat behind and went to find the bus with our luggage. It was quite a long walk down a hill in the heat to reach our bus, but we found it and were taken to our hotel. The hotel was nice enough, not the 5-Star accommodations we had grown used to, but good enough. I thought we had great views from our hotel room. After resting for a few hours, we went out to explore our immediate surroundings, haggle with shopkeepers and get something to eat. It was still quite crowded everywhere and murderously hot, so we retired in a bar to drink a beer and rest. Our aspirations for this day were not very high, and we were just happy to relax. We left, walked around briefly, found a nice small restaurant and enjoyed hamburgers together before retiring to bed for the night.

Yangshuo - Moon Hill - Me & My ParentsWe woke up the next day feeling refreshed and followed Angela to a cafe. We had most of the day to wander around, but we had to get to the airport in the early evening to catch our flight to Shanghai. We didn't really want to do too much and wear ourselves our before our flight but we drove around the countryside in a little electric car. Angela and me climbed to the top of Moon Hill, pictured here, and went to a butterfly sanctuary which actually involved climbing a small mountain and touring another cave. Our third cave in two days, and this one, man-made, didn't meet our expectations.

We made our way back to town, ate a terrible lunch in a tourist-trap of a restaurant, gathered our things, and took a two-hour ride in a taxi to the airport only to find out that our flight had been rescheduled and would leave three hours later than we planned.

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