Friday, May 2, 2008

Li River Cruise

Our last day in Guilin we took a cruise on the Li River. Several boatloads of tourists cruise this river every day. It's a nice four hour ride and includes lunch. The eroded limestone karsts along this section of river have been the subject of Chinese landscape painting for centuries. The subtropical climate bathes them in a constant mist adding to their mystique. The shores are home to bamboo groves, rice terraces, small villages and the ever present water buffalo.

Our boat was big and carried about 80 tourists. It had bathrooms and a kitchen way aft, and they served a decent lunch, but I'd much rather have been on one of these boats. We saw these traditional bamboo raft-type boats everywhere. I would love to take a ride on one and see how they are made.

We passed by this village as the farmers were preparing their orange harvest for shipment.

And we watched this fisherman setting his net.

And when this view appeared our guide helpfully pointed out that it's the landscape shown on the 20 yuan bill.

Our guide also told us that water buffaloes have a pretty easy life here. They only work a few weeks twice a year to cultivate the rice terraces. The rest of the time they just sort of wander around keeping the weeds down.

After lunch the Lord of the Manor had a little nip of this cobra wine. I think it's all a show for the tourists and it seemed quite expensive for the tiny sip they sold him, but now he can say he's had snake wine.

After the obligatory daily factory tour (pearls this time I think) we had dinner at a place that prided itself on showmanship. Here is an example of their talents. It's supposed to be a farmer with bags of rice on his boat. The farmer was made out of a cucumber and a tiny egg with a tomato hat. The bags of rice were vegetable dumplings. Not only was it the cutest food of the whole trip, but it tasted good too.

After dinner our guide suggested foot massages since Guilin was famous for them. Nine of us said we'd like to do that, so off we went in the bus again. We all trooped into the place and *surprise* they showed us into a large room with ten chairs! Group foot massage! It turned out to be one of the high points of the trip. Not only was it a superior massage, but our masseuses worked in unison, so we all moaned at the same time. It has to be one of the most hilarious things we've ever done.
I still have a few more days of the trip to tell you about and then I'll get back to normal life here Amongst The Oaks.


Morning said...

Stunning scenery! And the food -- yum!

Sue said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've always wanted to see this area and now I've had the pleasure from the comfort of my magic armchair! It looks truly amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your trip.

Beverly said...

What incredible views. It has been such a pleasure to travel along with you. You have brought me images that I will probably never see for myself.

Sue said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a lovely comment. I'd delighted for you to link to my blog, if you'd like to. Best wishes from a grey England

Bryony said...

Keep up the good work.