West Street in Old Yangshuo
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Yangshuo is an old town dating back 1,400 years, with an old street as old as the town itself--West Street
West Street is located on the bank of the Lijiang River. We were up with the lark to see the first rays of the dawning sun on the river.
A long line of fragrant osmanthus trees standing beside the riverbank, sending out a sweet scent on the morning wind. The sky lightened, the morning sun leapt over the fiver surface, strewing its rays and tingeing the river sunrise-red. A light breeze blew. All was bathed in light and color. An early-rising fisherman, wielding a bamboo pole, punted his boat, floating across the water against a back-drop of the morning sun's golden rays.
Along the marble-paved West Street, there are blue brick walls and upswept eaves, a scattering of wooden houses and low buildings properly spaced, streams and stone bridges, banyan and osmanthus trees complimenting and contrasting with each other in a most pleasing way. On this 1,000-meter-long street are over 1,000 souvenir shops and stalls; the huge array of different clothing and utensils on sale here gives visitors an insight into the unique culture and art of this old town, and an appreciation of its local specialties.
By day, tourists stroll along West Street, enjoying Chinese dishes or Western food, bargaining in the shops with all the time in the world, perhaps renting a bicycle, riding it at a leisurely pace, savoring in the beauty of the landscape Visitors here are as relaxed as if they were at home in their own backyards or on
their own land, so locals on West Street treat them like members of the family. One summer, a beer festival was held on West Street, and a French jazz band came to play; dressed in tuxedoes they performed under the bright moonlight, giving West Street a taste of French music.
At night West Street becomes a scene of hustle and bustle and neon lights.
The street is lined with old Chinese-style lanterns, interspersed with the bright lights of Western restaurants. Despite the contradiction in atmosphere between traditional Chinese and modern Western, the result is harmony. Little folk craft shops along the street sell all manner of things -- Chinese silk clothes, batik, repro ceramics, hand-painted T-shirts and soapstone handicrafts.
Square tables with batik tablecloths are put out onto the stone-paved street
Here visitors sit by candlelight, enjoying Yangshuo specialties and appreciating West Street life.
Foreign language signs are ubiquitous—restaurants, art dealers and handicraft shops are named, branded and advertised in English. German and French, Arabic, Korean and Japanese.
People can study in Yangshuo’s foreign language schools, or communicate with overseas visitors at bars and shops. Chinese teach Chinese, calligraphy, taichi(taijiquan), and chess; foreigners pass on their language and culture in a two-way traffic. Almost everyone on West Street can speak a foreign language and even white-haired old ladies can chat with English.
Such is the magic of West Street that it is hardly surprising the romance blossoms from time to time, resulting in international brides and bridegrooms. A young Yangshuo woman married a Japanese man, a Swedish woman married a Yangshuo woman, and a young Frenchman come to West Street as a live-in son-in-law. So far, there have been more than 300 transnational marriages on West Street.
Yangshuo’s West Street has become a wonder of Chinese tourism!
As introduced by official of the Asia-Pacific Department of the world Tourism Organization (WTO), the development of tourism in Yangshuo tallies with the WTO’s indicator system. Therefore, the WTO has set up tourism indicators morning sits at Yangshuo, the first in China. The sits uses WTO indicators to monitor and record the development of tourism in Yangshuo from a community perspective. The data observed will be included in WTO Indicator Sustainable Development for Tourism, a fundamental book of the WTO used in proving training and technical support for tourism in all countries of the world.
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