My best day in China!

Yangshuo Travel Blog

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Yangshou: Going "off-road"

These are my last days in China - and they happen to be the best! Yesterday was everything I had hoped to experience from China. Perfect!

Traveling with my friend, Shawn from Shanghai, we rented bicycles and set out on our own adventure to experience the countryside. We had no guide, just a vague sense of direction - and a healthy tolerance for making wrong turns.

I hope you can see these photos (I will share more with you when I return to the USA). The scenery around the Li River is spectacular! Everywhere we traveled, we marveled at just how stunning the views were.

But even more interesting to me, were the people we
met along the way.

This couple shared food and smiles
For example, at one farm house we stopped to say hi to an older man and woman, and inquired about the fruit they were eating. (Translated as "Yellow Skin Fruit" in Chinese, and tasting both sweet and sour. Yummy!) But instead of just eating from the tree, the woman insisted that we take the already-prepared fruit from inside her own house! Delightful.

At another stop, we met a young mother and her kids. The children were a bit frightened of me, but I tried to lighten the mood by pretending to play mahjong with them. I was doing my best to get them to see foreigners as friendly and not so scary. But sadly, there was a "part 2" to that story, and it was negative. I had paid 1 yuan (12 cents) to buy the children some frozen treats from their mother's roadside store. After that, however, I noticed that more and more children were appearing from the village.
Like being in a postcard (Yangshou)
Several started to grab at me and then gesture to their mouth, as if they wanted something
to eat. Shawn tells me that the mother had told the kids "If you say hello to this foreigner he will buy you some candy." We really wanted to yell at her for setting such a bad example. Instead of having fun simply interacting with someone from a different land, the mother had taught the kids that foreigners are a target to harass for money. Very disappointing.

But by far, the overwhelming feeling today was one of awe over the stunning beauty of the region. We got lost a few times, and our trek stretched out for well over 7 hours! But didn't really care. We saw things that most tourists would never stumble across - while carrying our bikes up rocky cliffs, or trying to keep our balance while riding along the narrow walls of rice paddies.
Who would put a hole in the middle of a road in the middle of freaking nowhere?
I took literally hundreds of photos!

Later though, I discovered the danger of that beauty. I was walking backward while attempting to take a photo, and boom! I fell right into a hole in the road! Nearly broke my freaking leg! Hilarious!

That evening, after scrubbing away layers of dirt and grime, we were treated to a different type of entertainment. It was a theatrical extravaganza that has all of China flocking to attend. What's so unique about "Impression: Liu Sanjie?" Well, first of all, it is directed by Zhang Yimou, the man who directed such films as "Raise the Red Lantern;" "Hero;" and "House of Flying Daggers." (Note: If you haven't seen those films yet, rush right out and rent the DVD tonight - especially "Hero." They are great!)

The other unique aspect of the show is that it features 600 performers. Yup... SIX HUNDRED dancers and singers! When was the last time you saw 600 people choreographed in anything? But what makes this most impressive, is that the "stage" is the Li River! Every one of the performers is actually floating on the river - usually just on small bamboo rafts. Incredible. A perfect ending to a perfect day.


  All in all, I could not ask for a better ending to my time in China.
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Yangshou: Going off-road
Yangshou: Going "off-road"
This couple shared food and smiles
This couple shared food and smiles
Like being in a postcard (Yangshou)
Like being in a postcard (Yangshou)
Who would put a hole in the middle…
Who would put a hole in the middl…
photo by: sylviandavid