The flotilla working its way down the Li River to Yangshuo
Had a big thunderstorm and heavy rain overnight, so the streets were wet this morning. Unfortunately it did not dampen down the humidity very much. We went on a river cruise today from just outside Guilin
to Yangshuo. We joined a flotilla of tourist boats down the Li River, one after the other, taking about 4 hours. The scenery was very picturesque with the limestone cliffs, water buffalo, farmers and fishermen. Lunch on the boat was quite "rustic", which once again we enjoyed as an educational experience. The natural beauty of this area has inspired many famous artists and writers, and one particular scene through a gorge can be seen on one of the Chinese currency notes.
Farmer and water buffalo on the Li River, near Yangshuo
Upon arrival, we walked up through the town to our hotel, whilst others took a golf buggy. The hawkers here seem more aggressive and more likely to chase you! They'd also get quite narky if you really didn't want to buy anything. Went for a walk in the afternoon through some quite interesting areas - a temple cut into a cliff with a colourful painted buddha, a dentist clinic in a shop on the main street whereby all passing traffic can see your tooth being removed, complete with reclining dentist chairs,drills etc.. Also walked through the fresh produce market - lots of fruit and veg but also live animals, with their recently deceased companions on the rack in front! The market was quite hot so not sure how Australian health & safety inspectors would feel about the bacteria growth rate in there.
A scene from the "impressions" show in Yangshuo, all done on the water and quite amazing.
After all that exercise, we lashed out on a 3 yuen (50cent) bottle of beer to cool down with back at the hotel. This evening we went to an outdoor performance on the Li River, called Impression Sanjie Liu, which was quite incredible. The surrounding mountains are all lit up and form part of the set and the performance takes place mostly on the water with 600 actors, water buffalo and boats. The story is all about a village girl but shows how the local ethnic groups live. The actors are all local villagers and the director is Zhang Yimou, director of some of the better known Chinese movies, such as Heroes. He is also going to be directing the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, so should be amazing. The gridlock of buses after the show was also quite amazing! We got dropped off at the bottom of Western Street so we could walk back to the hotel. This area is dedicated to tourism, particularly Westerners, and therefore prices are much higher than we're now used to seeing. Noel twisted his ankle coming down a step into the street but hopefully it won't give him too much trouble.